Glass mosque lamp

Within the hour of arriving at Doha airport, I found myself heading through the doors of the geometrically pleasing Museum of Islamic Art near Dhow Harbour. The museum has fine collections of glass, textiles, manuscripts, coins, metalwork and ceramics all set within an architecturally cooling atmosphere, surrounded by subtle islamic motifs and muted colours.

The voluminous lobby invites light from the harbour, where people relax on the white leather sofas and enjoy a fine chocolate mousse whilst watching the boats sail on by. There is no hurry here; art can be enjoyed and the soul can be rested.

The museum is also free entry so were I to live in Doha this would become my second home!

I highly recommend a visit to this place, whether you stay in Doha for a long haul flight stop-over or are looking to enjoy your business trip beyond the hotel bar!

Museum of Islamic Art, Doha (Qatar)

So here I present a little taste of the glass collection, some of which originates from countries renowned for their artistically rich culture such as Iran, Iraq, Syria and Egypt.

Mosaic glass cosmetic container
8th Century, Iraq

Left: Glass bottle, 9th – 10th Century, Iran
Right: Document holder, 6th – 8th Century, Iran

Glass bucket
Gilded and enameled, mid 14th Century, Egypt or Syria

The Cavour Vase
Glass, vitreous enamel and gilding
Late 13th Century, probably Syria

Mosaic floor tile fragment, cast and mosaic glass
9th Century, Iraq (probably Samarra)

The collection of glass mosque lamps are extremely beautiful. The museum’s lighting serves to set these glass lamps off to their best advantage for your eye to capture the detail and colour. It is also well-worth reading the historical information on these lamps to understand how they were created and traded. Unfortunately my camera lens was damaged and I was unable to do them justice.

Glass mosque lamp

Mamluk revival mosque lamp, France (Paris), late 19th Century

Glass mosque lamp

Glass mosque lamp

The museum had a video presentation on glass working techniques which covered glass-blowing, glass fusing, torchworking, lampworking beads, etc. There seemed to be plenty of interest by the visitors and I expect many of them will leave the museum with some wonder!

I enquired at the museum’s bookshop to see if they had a DVD or similar of the presentation but sadly not. There were no books dedicated to the glass collection either (unless you were prepared to buy the lovely large format book of the museum’s entire collection – but as a backpacker this didn’t seem like a good option, however tempting!)

Museum glass presentation of lampworking / torchworking

I floated out of the museum just before sunset and decided to head out to one of the nearby souqs, feeling inspired by the decorative arts and the warming colours transforming in the sky.

Museum of Islamic Art

Courtyard inside the Museum of Islamic Art

Originally published: Saturday, January 5th, 2013 at 18:51 in Celebrating Art, Inspiration, Living matter, Monologues


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2 Responses to “Doha’s glass delights at the Museum of Islamic Art”

  1. Archie says:

    absolutely stunning and beautiful glasswork!


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