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JustHere | November 15, 2017

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MIA opens latest show Marvellous Creatures in Doha

An exciting new exhibition, Marvellous Creatures: Animal Fables in Islamic Art was launched at the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) in Doha yesterday, under the patronage of Qatar Museums Chairperson, HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani.  The exhibition will run from 4 March – 11 July 2015, and entry is free of charge.

On display in the museum’s Special Exhibitions Gallery, Marvellous Creatures focuses on the real and mythical animals that appear in the legends, tales, and fables of the Islamic world. Divided into the natural quadrants of fire, air, earth, and water, these creatures introduce well-known and beloved classics including Kalila wa Dimna, the Shahnameh, and One Thousand and One Nights.

1Glass Fish-Shaped Decoration, Roman or Byzantine, Syria or Egypt, 3rd–4th century 2‘Prince Dara Shikoh riding a royal elephant’ from a Royal Album of Shah Jahan, Mughal, India, 1628–30 CE
3Woven Silk Tapestry known as ‘The Franchetti Tapestry’
Safavid, Iran (Kashan), 16th century
4Polychrome Underglaze Painted Dish with Hare Motif
Ottoman, Turkey (Iznik), 16th century


The wide variety of objects presented in the Marvellous Creatures exhibition – manuscripts, textiles, ceramics, jewellery, glass, and metalwork – dating from the 10th to the 19th centuries, demonstrate the enduring appeal of these characters and stories across diverse cultures and generations. The illustrations and motifs seen in the exhibition reflect the diversity of Islamic art production.

The exhibition takes visitors on a journey through a vibrant sensory experience, using storytelling in its variety of forms – from colourful illustrations and visual displays, to audio stories and animation.

In conjunction with the exhibition there will be a series of child friendly and family activities at MIA, including interactive storytelling, late night family tours, puppet shows and creative art workshops, including a workshop where children can create their own marvellous creatures.

MIA is also offering the wider community a rich agenda of activities and seminars. To open the show, a special Shahnameh Seminar will be delivered by renowned scholars Dr. Sheila Canby, and artist Hamid Rahmanian. The seminar will explore the historic and artistic development of the Shahnameh, the famed epic poem that tells the stories of the heroes and rulers of ancient Persia.

Additionally, MIA will offer late night tours, an evening talk titled: ‘Spot the Elephant: Royal Processions in Mina’i and Lustreware’, and a Karagöz puppet show called ‘Garbage Monster’ by the Istanbul Karagöz Puppet Foundation.

A colourfully-illustrated exhibition album, highlighting key objects and stories featured in the exhibition is also available at the MIA Gift Shop.

Click here for the full list of the educational activities that accompany the exhibition.

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