The Keir Collection: The First Islamic Art Collection at the Dallas Museum of Art

DALLAS — It has been a little over a year since the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) of Texas received the third largest collection of Islamic Art of North America on an extended loan. It is said to be one of the world’s leading and private collection of Islamic art. The collection features Islamic and Islamicate arts from Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. The collection was put together by Edmund de Unger, an Hungarian art collector over a period of fifty years. The Keir Collection used to be also displayed in a British mansion, thus the name. With the help and determination of Sabiha Al Khemir, a Tunisian American curator, the collection made its way in the DMA for the public to see.

 

THE LAUDABLE

The Keir Collection is composed of priceless and unique pieces of Islamic and Islamicate History and Art. The colors of some of the pieces are vibrant and the skillmanship of the pieces is simply praise-able.

 

 

 

Ewer, Egypt, late 10th to early 11th century, rock crystal; 19th-century gold mount by Jean-Valentin Morel. Brad Flowers / Keir Collection of Islamic Art on loan to the Dallas Museum of Art.

Source: The National

 

 

Bowl, Iran, 13th century, ceramic. Ira Schrank / The Keir Collection of Islamic Art on loan to the Dallas Museum of Art.

Source: The National

 

 

 

 

The preserved Arabic texts of some items in the precious Keir Collection range from a Quran the size of a very small matchbox to embroidered fabric with sacred Arabic texts. The level of detail is mind-boggling and often requires a magnifying glass to peruse.

 

THE LIMITS OF THE COLLECTION

The map of the Islamic world in Africa was not totally accurate. It only showed two leading Islamic centers in West Africa and they were more than that. What’s more? Islam has always been all over the world, not in sporadic areas. Timbuktu and Abuja were great Islamic centers and so was Mankono in the north of Ivory Coast.

 

WHAT TO EXPECT AT THE DMA OVERALL

The Keir Collection is composed of about 2000 pieces if not more. The DMA displays about 150 pieces at a time. Perhaps we will get to see an old manuscript from Timbuktu like depicted below one day locally.

Source: Manuscript recovered from Bamako, Mali by ‘Timbukto Renaissance’ curator Abdel Kader Haidara (image via the Prince Claus Fund)

 

OTHER PIECES OF ART IN THE KEIR COLLECTION

Jug, second half of the 12th century, ceramic. Ira Schrank / The Keir Collection of Islamic Art on loan to the Dallas Museum of Art.

Source: The National

 

 

 

 

 

Manuscript, Turkey, circa 1605–1610, work on paper. Ira Schrank / The Keir Collection of Islamic Art on loan to the Dallas Museum of Art.

Source: The National

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visit dma.org for more details.

Written by Papatia Feauxzar

Papatia Feauxzar

Papatia Feauxzar is an accountant, an avid reader and writer living in Dallas, Texas with her nuclear family. She blogs at papatia.wordpress.com. Papatia feels blessed by the Almighty to be able to work in accounting from home while she raises her young son, pens and reads him stories.