Ismaili Muslim community donates treasures to UBC Museum of Anthropology

Published: April 24, 2013
UBC Museum of Anthropology

UBC Museum of Anthropology Director Anthony Alan Shelton (from left to right), Manager of Administration Salma Mawani and Curator Carol Mayer at the museum Wednesday, April 24, 2013. The trio are standing in front of a display of items gained with the help of the Ismaili community. Jason Payne/PNG

 

LARISSA CAHUTE
VANCOUVER DESI

The latest addition to UBC’s Museum of Anthropology tells tales of centuries of travel among the Muslim community, in which trade objects, ideas and culture crossed vast expanses of land and water.

The Ismaili Muslim community donated the new pieces on display, which include a 19th century incense set, brightly coloured in turquoise with a gold and floral print, a 17th century ceramic dish with a blue Arabic script and a sheet of the Qur’an, dating back to the ninth century.

“Most objects have had long journeys,” said the museum’s curator, Carol Mayer. “The travelling of ceramics is interesting because they travel all over the world.”

And these objects travelled along the  famous Silk Road, which starts in China and crosses land and sea to end in Europe.

“Muslims were great traders, so they followed these routes,” said Mayer. “Those objects, to me, talk about those travels and also the travel of Islam itself.”

“[The items] refer to the mobility of objects and culture and ideas, and how they moved from one place to another in a time when there were no telephones or anything else.”

According to Mayer, the ceramic dish was made for a king and each of the three items carries some kind of Arabic scripture or calligraphy.

The piece of the Qur’an is particularly interesting, because it displays a form of calligraphy that has proven illegible — the museum has not been able to find someone who can transcribe its message.

“The interesting thing with the words on them is that they carry a message,” said Mayer. “They also are a way of transmitting ideas, transmitting cultural ideas, a way of talking about religion.”

But perhaps the most significant point about the latest exhibit is that the items are permanent fixtures — donated by the Ismaili Muslim community.

“This is a rare occurrence, for a community to give something to the museum like this,” said Mayer. “It’s … an extension of our relationship that started with the community in 2001,” which marked the community’s first exhibit at the museum, The Spirit of Islam.

The relationship with the community will even extend across the country, as a similar ceramic dish will be on display in Toronto’s Aga Khan Museum, slated to open in 2014.

But for the UBC museum’s manager of administration, Salma Mawani, the Vancouver donation is a momentous occasion for her as a Muslim.

“These were out in Europe and purchased for the Museum of Anthropology,” Mawani said. “Our Islamic art that we have right now — the manuscripts are beautiful, but other than that we really didn’t have anything.

“So it’s very, very valuable to the community because these are pieces that they would not be able to see anywhere else.

“They’re priceless.”

The donation coincides with the museum’s Safar/Voyage exhibit, in which  contemporary works by Arab, Iranian and Turkish artists are on display until Sept. 15. The gift from the Ismaili Muslim community is on display permanently.

lcahute@theprovince.com
twitter.com/larissacahute


Tags: , ,





Featured

Mountie death-crash-Surrey BC

Truck driver called ‘forgotten victim’ of fatal Surrey RCMP crash

JENNIFER SALTMAN VANCOUVER DESI   The truck driver involved in the 2012 crash that killed Surrey RCMP Const. Adrian Oliver is a “forgotten victim,” according…
Continue Reading »

Ganesha's wife-Ganpati-elephant god

Indian baby born with a trunk is being worshipped as Hindu deity Ganesha’s wife

HINDUSTAN TIMES A baby girl born with a ‘trunk’ has become a big attraction in Aligarh, where people are flocking to worship her. They believe…
Continue Reading »

racial attack

Video shows Sikh man thrashed in suspected racial attack in Birmingham

IANS London – In a suspected racial attack, police in Britain have come across footage posted online in which a Sikh man is seen being…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

Mountie death-crash-Surrey BC

Truck driver called ‘forgotten victim’ of fatal Surrey RCMP crash

JENNIFER SALTMAN VANCOUVER DESI   The truck driver involved in the 2012 crash that killed Surrey RCMP Const. Adrian Oliver is a “forgotten victim,” according…
Continue Reading »

desi alcoholic

Courage To Come Back: Andy Bhatti makes it his life’s work to help young victims of sex abuse

SUSAN LAZARUK VANCOUVER DESI This is the first of six profiles on recipients of the 2015 Courage To Come Back Awards, presented by Coast Mental…
Continue Reading »

SURREY

Alleged terrorist almost killed himself with poisoned samosas before planned Canada Day attack

IAN AUSTIN VANCOUVER DESI Accused terrorist John Nuttall nearly killed himself with strychnine-contaminated samosas six weeks before he planted phoney bombs at the B.C. Legislature….
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

India-Canada-Vancouver Desi

Indian PM Narendra Modi to visit Vancouver, Toronto and Ottawa in April

VANCOUVER DESI Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is coming to Canada in April, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced Wednesday. Modi will be visiting Toronto, Ottawa…
Continue Reading »

python escapes, kills children

Exotic Pets: Snake owner charged in deaths of young New Brunswick brothers killed by python

THE CANADIAN PRESS CAMPBELLTON, N.B. — Police in New Brunswick have charged a man with criminal negligence causing death after two young brothers were asphyxiated…
Continue Reading »

Aditi Arya

Miss India World Aditi Arya: Wanted my statement to be India’s

IANS Mumbai – Aditi Arya, the proud winner of this year’s Femina Miss India World crown, says she always wanted to represent India on an…
Continue Reading »

Freedom-Section 66A-India

Teenager shoots himself after father bans Facebook chat

IANS Lucknow - A 14-year-old boy shot himself Thursday after his father reprimanded him for chatting too often on social networking site Facebook, police said. The…
Continue Reading »

messy custody battle-desi lingerie model

Jeremy Renner’s messy divorce from B.C. model gets messier as custody battle rages

VANCOUVER DESI A B.C. woman who was married to Hollywood actor Jeremy Renner is being accused of being a gold digger and blackmailer who has…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

KALKI KOECHL-Bollywood

Kalki Koechlin says films like ‘Margarita, With a Straw’ need support more than business

IANS Mumbai – Bollywood actress Kalki Koechlin is happy that actor Aamir Khan and his filmmaker wife Kiran Rao are supporting her forthcoming film “Margarita,…
Continue Reading »

My choice-women's empowerment

“My Choice”: Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone is an example of a woman who lives by her own rules

  IANS Mumbai – Deepika Padukone, who has made strong statements about women’s rights in a short video, is an example of a single woman…
Continue Reading »

Nargis Fakhri

Is British actor Dev Patel dating Bollywood babe Nargis Fakhri?

IANS Mumbai – Link-up reports have always been a part and parcel of the glamour industry. And it has now struck actress Nargis Fakhri as…
Continue Reading »