There are many good reasons to visit Qatar: beautiful places, breathtaking tourist destinations, and many more. Now, if jewelries are of your interest, you can try to visit the exhibitions held by Qatar’s royal family.
Recently, a member of Qatar’s ruling family held an exhibition dubbed as “East Meets West: Jewels of the Maharajas from the Al Thani Collection” at San Francisco’s Legion of Honor Museum, according to CNN Style. This exhibition showcases the rare Indian jewel collection of the Al Thani family.
Rare Indian Jewel Collection Showcased in Qatari Royal’s Exhibition
The Al Thani Collection is the Qatari royal family’s collection of Indian art and jewels since the period of the Mughal empire up to the present. It was established by Sheikh Hamad bin Abdullah Al Thani, a member of the Qatari royal family, with the purpose of promoting arts and culture through sponsorships, museum projects, exhibitions, and academic publications.
This November, the Al Thani Royal family held an exhibition “East Meets West: Jewels of Maharajas from the Al Thani Collection” at the Legion of Honor Museum, San Francisco. The exhibition features more than 150 breathtaking Indian artifacts borrowed from the collection of the ruling family of Qatar.
One of the jewels included in the exhibition is the Taj Mahal Emperor’s Dagger. It is an exquisite dagger crafted from jade and inlaid with gold in the 17th century. Its creator was Shah Jahan, the emperor who built the Taj Mahal. Two centuries later, the dagger became part of the private collection of Samuel Morse, inventor of the Morse Code.
The “East Meets West: Jewels of Maharajas from the Al Thani Collection” exhibition reveals the cultural and material exchanges between India and Europe through jewelry and precious objects. It features jewels from the 17th century to the present, all associated with the royalties of Mughals (a Muslim dynasty with roots in Central Asia) including the emperors, maharajas, and their courts.
The earliest pieces on display date back to 1526, when the Mughals invaded Northern India and founded an empire. European and Mughal emperors had established a trading relationship by that time. The Mughal emperors were fascinated by the technology used by the Europeans in crafting jewelries and treasures. According to Martin Chapman, co-curator of the exhibition, western jewelers and goldsmiths worked at the Mughal courts applying the European tastes and techniques in making jewelries that had great appeal to Indian princes. In later years, maharajas even went to Europe to reset gems in their treasuries, infusing design of Indian forms and tastes with Western settings.
On the other hand, Europeans were amazed by the wealth of the Mughals. For instance, Mughal Emperor Jahangir was said to have uncut diamonds that were more than five million carats. He had more jewels than the monarchs of Europe combined, based on the observation of Jacques de Coutre, a 16th century Flemish gem trader.
Aside from the exchanges between the two cultures, gender is also addressed in the exhibition. According to Chapman, almost all of the jewelry pieces are made for and worn by men. It is the men in India, specifically the male rulers, who wear extravagant and elaborate jewelry such as bangles, rings, necklaces, and earrings as well as the turban ornament, he added.
The said exhibit opened last November 3, 2018 and will be on display until the 24th of February next year.
Those are just some of the jewelries from the Qatari royal family’s Al Thani collection. To know more about their other collections, you may visit their official website at https://www.thealthanicollection.com/.