Rijksmuseum permanent Islamic art gallery opens Saturday

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Rijksmuseum is setting up a permanent exhibition of Islamic art as part of its Special Collections gallery, where it shows extraordinary pieces.

The exhibition opens on March 21 2015, on Noroez, the day on which Iran celebrates the beginning of spring and the New Year. The museum states that the exhibition is in response to longstanding requests for more Islamic art in the Dutch museums. Rijksmuseum’s little known Islamic collection includes fragile Middle Eastern glass and beautiful tiles from Iran, a mosaic fragment from Islamic Granada and colorful plates from the Turkish Iznik. It will be on display in tow showcases. The museum says that it never had a separate gallery for Islamic art, it did acquire several extraordinary pieces through the years. Around the turn of the 19th century it bought Islamic ceramic and textile, as showpieces and inspiration for then contemporary artists. There were also several incidental donations of objects from the Middle East, among unique rugs from Turkey, Iran and Egypt. And after the war the museum received large private gifts, such as a collection of Eastern rugs (Van Aardenne) and a collection of Islamic ceramic (OOsterbaan-Lugt). One of the rugs that will be on display in the permanent exhibition dates back to the first decade of the 17th century.