The 1001 Inventions and Arabick Roots exhibitions were inaugurated by H E Sheikha Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of Qatar Museum Authority, at the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) yesterday.
Connected by the theme “Explore our past to inspire our future,” the two exhibitions will open to the public today with 1001 Inventions running until November 12 and Arabick Roots until January 2013.
While the 1001 Inventions exhibition takes visitors through the works of scientists and scholars of the Golden Age of Muslim Civilisation, the Arabick Roots exhibition reveals their influence on the scientific revolution and lifestyle in Europe during the 17th century. The 1001 Inventions, for instance, explores the works of Muslim scientists such as Ibn Al Haytham, who laid the foundations of Optics including the explanation of the scientific phenomenon ‘Camera Obscura’ – which is still used in modern cameras.
Many of Ibn Al Haytham’s works were translated into Latin by the medieval scholar Gerard of Cremona. The works included Al Haytham’s Book of Optics, which had a strong impact on many scientists in Europe that lasted till the 17th century, the Arabick Roots exhibition reveals.
“We owe our rich scientific heritage to cultures and civilisations worldwide. With these two exhibitions we rediscover some of the roots of modern civilisation,” Aisha Al Khater, director of the MIA, said.
Visitors are also introduced to Master Engineer Al Jazari - inventor of the fabled Elephant Clock and numerous mechanisms that are used in every machine in the world today.
They discover how Andalusian physician Al Zahrawi invented hundreds of surgical instruments and procedures more than a thousand years ago that are still saving lives in modern hospitals.
“As a Qatari, I’m proud to be part of such great initiatives. Bringing these two important international exhibitions to Qatar will inspire young Qataris to build on their rich and diverse scientific heritage that had enlightened the world in the Golden Ages,” Sheikh Thani Al Thani, Deputy General Manager of Qatar Shell, said.
The exhibitions also introduce Fatima Al Fihri, a young woman who founded and designed the world’s first modern university, which offered free education to men and women of all backgrounds.
“Muslim civilisation stretched from southern Spain as far as China, and for a thousand years, scholars of many faiths built on the ancient knowledge of the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, making breakthroughs that helped pave the way for the Renaissance,” Ahmed Salim, producer and director of 1001 Inventions, explained.
“The most important lesson I’ve learned from developing Arabick Roots is the meaninglessness of the term ‘Clash of Civilisations’ – when cultures learn from each other, they are unlikely to belittle one another,” Rim Turkmani, curator of Arabick Roots Exhibition, said.
‘Arabick Roots’ was inaugurated by H H Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, at its premiere at the Royal Society in London last year. The Doha version of the exhibition was specially designed for the Qatari audiences.
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