Long read: Room 34. It’s in a far-flung corner of the British Museum. To come upon it – far from the madding crowd – and work your way through it is to range nearly half way round the world, from Spain to China. It’s a journey through the history, richness, complexity and diversity of the Islamic world. Welcome to one of the world’s most important Islamic collections. To a single room that is, well, a magic carpet that illustrates the history and culture and zeitgeists (notice the plural) of the Islamic world from the time of Mohammed in the 7th century to the present day. Elegant Kufic script and calligraphy, astrolabes from Old Cairo, exquisite bronze metalwork and glass from the times of the Crusades, outstanding Iznik tiles and ceramics from the Ottoman Empire… these are objects that aren’t just beautiful, they pack a great deal of historical story power. One room, a couple of hundred works of art, 13 centuries – and it’s say goodbye to the worldview that you crossed the threshold with two hours previously.
ART OF ISLAM – THE PRACTICALS
The Art of Islam tour will take place at 10.45 am on Sunday, November 17. The meeting point for the Art of Islam tour is just outside Russell SquareTube. The walk ends at British Museum, which is very near several Tube stations (Russell Square, Holborn and Tottenham Court Road).