Art And Culture

India to Get a Gallery Dedicated to Islamic Art

India to Get a Gallery Dedicated to Islamic ArtIndia to Get a Gallery Dedicated to Islamic Art

Salar Jung Museum (SJM) in Hyderabad, India, will soon add a gallery of Islamic art.

At present, the artifacts at the museum are categorized as Indian art, Middle Eastern art, European and Far Eastern collections; however, since there has been a growing interest, especially in Islamic art and artifacts, among both tourists and historians, SJM officials have decided to have a gallery dedicated for the purpose, Gulf News reported.

“The British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London have an Islamic art gallery, but no museum in India does. We had been contemplating along these lines for some time now,” A. Nagender Reddy director of SJM said.

With construction on in full swing, Ravi Kumar, the engineer who is in charge of maintenance at SJM, said, “The giant gallery, measuring about 795 sq m, is being readied on the second floor of the eastern block. Its impressive collection is most likely to be thrown open to public in the next seven or eight months”.

“We are giving an Islamic touch with motifs and designs even to the interiors such as the flooring, ceiling and showcases. The floor, which is being laid, carries a black floral border on grey marble,” Kumar said.

Given the huge number of visitors SJM has attracted over the years, the officials are hopeful that once the Islamic Art Gallery opens, it will draw more art lovers not just from India, but also the Middle East.

“The SJM library has a rich collection of the Qur’an; it has 365 copies in Kufic, Naskh, Nasta’liq, Rayhani and Thuluth scripts. Most of these are illustrated and decorated. It also boasts of the oldest folio of Qur’an in Kufic script on parchment from the ninth century, representing rare calligraphy work,” Reddy said.

“Then there is the miniature Qur’an measuring 2 cm by 3 cm, printed in 31 folios. Only two such Qur’ans exist - one is in Iran and the other is at SJM. All these will shortly be shifted to the Islamic Art Gallery,” he added.

The SJM library has more than 56,000 rare books and 9,000 manuscripts in various languages, which are on display in various galleries at present. Once the Islamic Art Gallery is set up, visitors will be able to see collections of 2,600 Arabic manuscripts, 4,800 Persian, 1,000 Urdu, and 25 Turkish, besides 1,400 calligraphy panels at a dedicated arena.