Ruler of Sharjah inaugurates ‘Chapters of Islamic Art’ exhibition at House of Wisdom


The exhibition features a fascinating showcase of 98 of the rarest books from the private library of renowned German historians, Richard and Elizabeth Ettinghausen…reports Asian Lite News  

HH Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council Ruler of Sharjah, inaugurated today (Wednesday) the ‘Chapters of Islamic Art: Ettinghausen’s Private Collection of Rare Books’ at the House of Wisdom, Sharjah.

Ruler of Sharjah inaugurates ‘Chapters of Islamic Art’ exhibition at House of Wisdom

The exhibition features a fascinating collection of 98 of the rarest and oldest books from the private library of Dr. Richard Ettinghausen and his wife Dr. Elizabeth Ettinghausen – two of the world’s leading historians and scholars from Germany who specialised in Islamic history and art.

The exhibition’s 98 publications are a part of Ettinghausen’s entire private collection of 12,000 books, which was gifted by the Sharjah Ruler to House of Wisdom earlier in August. This includes valuable publications on the region’s art and architecture, many of which are more than 200 years old, and other titles spanning archaeology, travel, history, geography, religion, literature, poetry, palaeography, and more. These books are written in 10 languages including Arabic, English, German, Persian, Japanese, Urdu, French, Spanish, Turkish, Russian, and Italian.

Ruler of Sharjah inaugurates ‘Chapters of Islamic Art’ exhibition at House of Wisdom

HH Sheikh Dr. Sultan Al Qasimi toured the exhibition, whose offerings of books and artefacts are classified into six zones: Books published or edited by Dr. Ettinghausen; Books on archaeology, travel, history and geography; Books on religion and Islamic art and architecture; Oversized books on various subjects; Books on literature and poetry, manuscripts and Illuminations, palaeography and petroglyphs; and finally, Islamic ceramics, metalworks, textiles, carpets and rugs.

HH Sheikh Sultan Al Qasimi also viewed the remaining books from the collection displayed in House of Wisdom’s ‘Wisdom Vault’ – a high-security space that is temperature-, humidity- and light-controlled to create a conducive environment for the preservation and safe keeping of old manuscripts and high-value books. 

Ruler of Sharjah inaugurates ‘Chapters of Islamic Art’ exhibition at House of Wisdom

During the tour, His Highness was briefed on House of Wisdom’s plans to make the entire collection accessible online to students, readers, researchers, scholars and historians worldwide. This follows the iconic social hub’s vision to go beyond the limits of place to benefit people wherever they are, and seeks to fulfil the Sharjah Ruler’s vision to make valuable knowledge in sciences, culture history and other fields accessible to all. 

Starting with the 98 books that are part of this exhibition, the House of Wisdom team will continue working to include the remaining 11,902 books to their library’s rich digital repository.

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The exhibition was unveiled in the presence of Bodour Al Qasimi, President of the International Publishers Association (IPA); Sheikh Salem Khalid Al Qassimi ,UAE’s Permanent Delegate to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO); HE Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Youth; Audrey Azoulay, Director General of UNESCO;  Abdullah Al Owais, Chairman of Sharjah Department of Culture (SDC); Dr. Abdulaziz Al Musallam, Chairman of the Sharjah Institute for Heritage and Marwa Al Aqroubi, Director of House of Wisdom.