Oman’s Silver Jewelry is famed not only throughout Arabia but further afield. Traditionally made from the legendary Maria Theresa silver Thaler its metal quality was matched by craftsmanship that in many cases was superb.
Omans Adornment and Identity at the British Museum
So it was a pleasure to visit Continue reading
Posted in Culture, England, London, Museum, OMAN, People, Uncategorized
Tagged British Museum, London, Muscat, OMAN, Oman's Silver Jewelry, Silver Jewelry
It was good to join the Seminar for Arabian Studies at the British Museum.
Held annually it focuses on the history and archaeology of the Arabian Peninsula . It was especially nice to meet up with Ali Al Mahrouqi on July 23rd, which is Oman’s ‘Renaissance Day’. He was attending on behalf of Oman’s Ministry of National Heritage and Culture and put up a Poster of the project he is working on, including Adam which I enjoyed visiting with him last year.
Ali Al Mahrouqi and his Poster
At this years Seminar I found the overview by Derek Kennet on pre-historical sites in Wadi Andam and also Axelle Rougeulle talking about the first season of excavation at Qalhat very interesting.
Derek Kennet talks about pre-historical sites in Oman
Posted in Culture, London, Museum, OMAN, People, Uncategorized
Tagged Adam, Ali Al Mahrouqi, Arabian Peninsula, Axelle Rougeulle, British Museum, Derek Kennet, July 23rd, Ministry of national Heritage and Culture, Oman Renaissance Day, Qalhat, Seminar for Arabian Studies
The British Museum’s Great Court
Walking into the Shah ‘Abbas exhibition in the British Museum’s Reading Room was almost a sense of ‘déjà vu’ as the very English Sir Robert Sherley & wife Teresia gaze down as they did in the Tate’s ‘Lure of the East’ exhibition last year . This time they were not included because of the gorgeous costumes but for Robert Sherley’s role as Persian Ambassador from Shah ‘Abbas to various European Courts .
A Display Case of Chinese Blue and White
In 2007 President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque which of course has a very Persian flavour to it with the style of Shah Abbas’s dynasty throughout the interior of the building.
As Sultan Qaboos seems to like Persian art he will enjoy his visit to Iran this month. Perhaps the visit by the Omani Minister of Tourism in May to Homs and other Iranian cities was a build up to this visit - one trusts that the current political uncertainty will not affect His Majesty’s visit.
As an update – His Majesty’s visit did not take place at the end of June but Sultan Qaboos now should visit Iran during mid-July
Posted in Culture, London, Muscat, Museum, OMAN, People
Tagged British Museum, Chinese Ceramics, Iran, OMAN, Persia, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Reading Room, Shah Abbas, Sultan Qaboos, Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Sultan Qaboos to visit Iran in July, قابوس, مسقط, عمان
I managed to get back and see the Hadrian exhibition at the British Museum. The reading room in which it is held is of course an appropriate venue as Hadrian’s Pantheon inspired its dome.
Hadrian and compatriots
Timed tickets should have been a warning – the space was probably full to its designed capacity and it was a struggle to move at my pace and see the exhibits.
For me the outstanding impact was the representation of Hadrian throughout his rule – each artist created a sculpture of a man whom the “vir in via” must have been able to recognize has they walked past him.
It was wonderful that among the marble, the curators included a written plea for support, from a foreign civilian living in northern England, to the regions governor. Perhaps the same man had touched a large amphora, found near Hadrian’s Wall, which was displayed along with an image of a shard mountain of 26million amphora.
Later, walking along Bond Street, I was surprised to see a familiar shop name. ‘Bateel’ a shop selling Dates and Date products has a branch in Muscat; amazingly they had set up close to where a company I was general manager with 25 years ago had a shop. My surprise was not really in seeing Bateel but with a rental of probably GBP300,000+ per year the extraordinary volume of dates they must sell to cover costs – probably Arab Embassies are ideal clients.
Bateel Date Shop – Bond Street
Posted in London, Museum, OMAN, Oman's Nature
Tagged Bateel, Bond Street, British Museum, Date fruit, Hadrian, London, oman blog, Oman Date, Oman Muscat
The “lure of the east” exhibition dragged me down to the Tate Britain. The building is much like the Tardis– larger inside than outside and it does make me wonder at the expansive and educational vision of the Victorian wealthy compared to those today.
A painting of an Arab Interior at the Tate
The exhibition, perhaps inspired by Edward Said’s ‘Orientalism’, certainly makes the visitor an observer, not a participant. It perhaps argues against his overriding viewpoint. Sir Robert Shirley, who became an Ambassador for Shah Abbas, and the various British merchants who lived in the great trading cities of the Near East dressed in the current style of the country they lived in, speak volumes about their viewpoint. Details such as an artist, John Lewis, creating what could be a self-portrait of him at prayer in a Mosque and Shirley’s wife, Teresia, holding a pistol add to an alternative view.
Sir Robert Shirley, who was 19 when he started his work for the Persian Shah Abbas, stands well shaved, enrobed in Persian style garments. His cape could have been the inspiration for the dramatic carpet in the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat.
Elsewhere, in the gallery, I came across more reminders of Muscat; a watercolour by the Victorian artist Arthur Melville cited as being inspired by a cockfight in Muscat. The cocks have been lost to history and the vast Iwan framing the scene also been lost within the sands of Muscat, if it were more than an architectural frame for the birds fight in front.
Inspired by a memory of Muscat
While at the Tate, apart from enjoying the extraordinary collection of British art, people were running through the Duveen Galleries (empty of art incidentally) – perhaps referencing the Chinese Olympics.
Along the Victoria Line, I wanted to meet with Jessica Harrison-Hall who curates Chinese Ceramics at the British Museum. Regularly in Oman I come across a surprising quantity of Chinese Ceramic , and needed some advice. Up the stairs of the Great Court, flooded with visitors, and across to room 90. Press on the curator’s doorbell and was greeted with “we need to evacuate the building” . The slightly irritating tone in the background had been an evacuation signal! Fortunately, after extensive checking, the all clear was sounded and Jessica almost trumped the evacuation notice with “these are easy”; and of course, that’s why I knew she would be the ideal person to answer my queries.
Not all ceramic shards have a shiny glaze on both sides and today mine did not – I missed my opening into the Hadrian Exhibition – another day will be needed I think