Encountering Uzbek artefacts in The David Collection

Encountering Uzbek artefacts in The David Collection

By Dildora Nutfieva and Renata Byfoged

The David Collection in Copenhagen has a wide and varied collection of Islamic art, which is structured chronologically and geographically. Artefacts from different regions reveal the diversity of cultural traditions in Islamic art and a timeline serves as a structural tool for presenting different periods. Displaying the Islamic collection in a geographically categorized framework help visitors understand Islamic civilization in different time periods and regions. This way of presenting Islamic objects invites the visitors to travel in the past and study developments of Islamic art in various dynasties. The dimly lit, small rooms and carved wooden windows create a mysterious atmosphere in the museum

One of us has Muslim background, and she was pleasantly surprised to find several artefacts from her home country Uzbekistan; Artefacts from the Gur-e-Amir mausoleum (translated as a tomb of King), which used to be part of the Temurids dynasty. Amir Temur – also known as Tamerlane was founder of the Timurids empire. The territory of the empire was comprised by areas, which are now better known as Afghanistan, Mesopotamia, Iran, Central Asia, Syria, Pakistan and Turkey. The Gur-e-Amir mausoleum was built by the order of Muhammad Sultan, the beloved grandson of Tamerlane, in the 14th century. The mausoleum is decorated with carved bricks and different mosaics. The dome and walls are painted in blue, light blue and white colors https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gur-e-Amir.

Artefacts from the Timurids dynasty, Uzbekistan, Gur-e-Amir, 14 century
Photo borrowed from the museum’s website, https://www.davidmus.dk

Seeing parts of the mausoleum in the museum, made us think about, how the Temurids dynasty had a huge influence in the development of Islamic art. In this way, the rich collection of religious objects in the museum allows Muslims, who visit the museum in Copenhagen, to find a visible link to their own history, faith and identity. Moreover, emotional encounters with certain artefacts can be experienced as a sign of commitment and belonging to the homeland.

During our visit we experienced cultural encounters, exchanges and connections between different parts of the world and their specific historical and cultural backgrounds related to Islam – without leaving the physical space of the building.

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