Islamic Art in Egypt & Syria 12-15 century. After the Fatimid dynasty, which reigned in Egypt from 909 and 1171 introduced crafts and knowledge from politically troubled Baghdad to Cairo.
By the year 1070, the Seljuks emerged as the dominant political force in the Muslim world after they liberated Baghdad and defeated the Byzantines at Manzikert. During the rule of Malik Shah the Seljuks excelled in architecture at the same time in Syria, the atabegs (governors of Seljuk princes) assumed power. Quite independent, they capitalized on conflicts with the Frankish crusaders. In 1171, Saladin seized Fatimid Egypt, and installed the transitory Ayyubid dynasty on the throne. This period is notable for innovations in metallurgy and the widespread manufacture of the Damascus steel swords and daggers and the production ceramics, glass and metalwork of a high quality were produced without interruption, and enameled glass became another important craft.
In 1250, the Mamluks seized control of Egypt from the Ayyubids, and by 1261 had managed to assert themselves in Syria as well their most famous ruler was Baibars. The Mamluks were not, strictly speaking, a dynasty, as they did not maintain a patrilineal mode of succession; in fact, Mamluks were freed Turkish and Caucasian slaves, who (in theory) passed the power to others of like station. This mode of government persevered for three centuries, until 1517, and gave rise to abundant architectural projects (many thousands of buildings were constructed during this period), while patronage of luxury arts favored primarily enameled glass and metalwork, and is remembered as the golden age of medieval Egypt. The “Baptistère de Saint-Louis” in the Louvre is an example of the very high quality of metalwork at this period.
The Seljuq Turks pushed beyond Iran into Anatolia, winning a victory over the Byzantine Empire in the Battle of Manzikert (1071), and setting up a sultanate independent of the Iranian branch of the dynasty. Their power seems largely to have waned following the Mongol invasions in 1243, but coins were struck under their name until 1304. Architecture and objects synthesized various styles, both Iranian and Syrian, sometimes rendering precise attributions difficult. The art of woodworking was cultivated, and at least one illustrated manuscript dates to this period.
Museum of Islamic Art, Doha
The Museum of Islamic Art (Arabic: متحف الفن الإسلامي,) is a museum located on one end of the seven kilometers long Corniche in the Qatari capital, Doha. As with the architect I. M. Pei’s requirement, the museum is built on an island off an artificial projecting peninsula near the traditional dhow (wooden Qatari boat) harbor. A purpose-built park surrounds the edifice on the Eastern and Southern facades while 2 bridges connect the Southern front facade of the property with the main peninsula that holds the park. The Western and Northern facades are marked by the harbor showcasing the Qatari seafaring past.
The Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) represents Islamic art from three continents over 1,400 years. Its collection includes metal work, ceramics, jewelry, wood work, textiles and glass obtained from three continents and dating from the 7th to the 19th century.
Qatar’s ambition to become the most important cultural destination of the Gulf’s area was made concrete in 2008 with the opening of the MIA, the Museum of Islamic Art. It was designed by I.M. Pei, the Chinese-American architect that notably built the glass pyramid for the Louvre in Paris. It is considered to be one of the world’s great museums.
The art scene in Qatar witnessed substantial development in the mid- and late 1950s. Initially, arts were overseen by the Ministry of Education, with art exhibitions being hosted in its facilities. In 1972, the government started providing increased funding to aid the development of arts within the country. The father of modern artists in Qatar is Jassim Zaini (1943-2012) whose work explored diversity in techniques and documented the changing society from traditional local life to a global style. The Qatari Fine Arts Society was established in 1980 with the objective of promoting the works of Qatari artists.In 1998, the National Council for Culture, Arts and Heritage was established. Qatar Museums was established in the early 2000s to build and connect all museums and collections in Qatar. Two major museums lead the institution: the Museum of Islamic Art opened in 2008, and the Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, opened in Education City Qatar Foundation in 2010.