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Fri 14 Sep 2012 10:19 AM

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Islamic masterworks go on show in Doha

Sotheby's brings 40 artefacts to Qatar amid demand growth for art from the region

Islamic masterworks go on show in Doha
(Photo for illustrative purposes only)

US-based Sotheby's, one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine and decorative art, is staging an exhibition of Islamic arts in Qatar this weekend.

Artefacts valued at millions of dollars will be on show in Doha, Qatar at Katara Gallery on Friday and Saturday.

The exhibition will feature 40 masterworks of fine craftsmanship and traditions unique to Muslim culture, which span the Islamic world and ages, all highlights from the company’s forthcoming London biannual Arts of the Islamic World auction.

Sotheby's sold more than £200m ($316m) worth of classical and contemporary Islamic art over the last decade, rising from £6.6m ($10.4m) in 2001 to £45m ($71m) last year as demand grows for art from the region.

With the growth in museums in Qatar and around the region, such as the planned Louvre and Guggenheim museums in Abu Dhabi and the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, there is growing business in the region for Islamic pieces of art and auction houses have flooded to the region to take advantage of the rapid growth in sales.

Benedict Carter, deputy director and specialist of Sotheby’s Middle East Department, said: “We are delighted to be exhibiting choice highlights from our October Arts of the Islamic World auction at Katara Cultural Village venue in Doha. The exhibition includes pieces which span the depth and breadth of Islamic culture and geography.”

Headlining the exhibition will be a highly important 10th/11th century Fatimid white-ground lustre pottery jar, from Egypt. It is estimated at £300,000-500,000.

Carrying the same estimate is a rare and important early Islamic silver-gilt and nielloed parcel-gilt cup with Kufic inscription, from Persia, dated 11th/12th century.

Highlighting the manuscript section is a rare Qur'an leaf in late Hijazi script. This late 7th-early 8th century east or Arabian peninsula leaf is written in a transitional script that lies between Hijazi and Kufic, and has an estimate of £100,000-150,000.

Earlier this year, an unnamed Qatari royal was reported to have spent £158m ($250m) buying Paul Cezanne’s The Card Players painting, making it the highest sum ever paid for an art work.

In addition, Qatar was also believed to have been interested in bidding for Edvard Munch’s iconic painting ‘The Scream’ when it was sold in New York earlier this year.

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