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Our students at the Museum of Islamic Art in Cairo

On a thursdaymorning our students were guided around a new exhibition in the Museum of Islamic Art in Cairo. This exhibition displayed photographs and documents from the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century Western Arabian Peninsula.

In the morning of April 19th our 41 students of Arabic/Islam and Middle East Studies went on a field trip to the Museum of Islamic Art in Cairo. Here, they had the chance to critically examine- and gain knowledge about the Dutch and Egyptian collections of Islamic art. They were guided around the new exhibition The Hejaz and the holy cities: traces of a colorful past. This photo-exhibition was organized by Baukje Dijkstra, PD Hub for the MENA region of the Netherlands embassy in Cairo in collaboration with the Museum of Islamic Art in Cairo. The curation and research for the exhibition was conducted by Dr Luitgard Mols in cooperation with Dr Arnoud Vrolijk from Leiden University Library. Dr Vrolijk gave a talk during the opening of the photo-exhibition, inaugurated by H.E. Ambassador Laurens Westhoff who was accompanied by Dr Mohammed Abd al-Latif and representatives of the Ministry of Antiquities.

On display are various photographs, documents and manuscripts from the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century Western Arabian Peninsula. These portray the contemporary religious life of the cities Mekka, Medina and Jeddah. The exhibition predominantly consist of ethnographic objects collected by Dutch orientalist scholars and diplomatic consuls who were responsible for supervising Hajj pilgrims traveling from Indonesia to Mecca. One of the prime collectors was Islam scholar Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje. The collections eventually ended up in the University Library Leiden and Museum van Volkenkunde, also in Leiden.

For more information on the exhibition in Arabic. Read the article published by Al-Ahram here.