Monday, June 22, 2009

Qatar in four photos

My first stamp in my new passport. Note that Arabic numerals are not actually the numbers they use in Arabic speaking countries. That top row of pen is written in the modern numbering system in Arabic and says 542-9179735

Ryan and I stand in front of the Museum of Islamic Art. I'm not wearing the scarf because it's required (although it does attract less attention than my very blond hair) but because the sun was bearing down on us and a white thing on your head keeps you cool. Also because it makes me feel a bit like a movie star, which is never a bad thing.

One of the things I found most interesting is that very little in the collections is just art for the sake of art--there aren't loads of paintings or even tapestries or sculpture. A few, but it's maybe 15% of the extensive collections on display. There is, however, a ton incredibly intricate and and gorgeous functional art--carpets, lanterns, doors, ceilings, tiles bowls, helmets, Qur'ans, and a whole room full of scientific instruments. All of these were both recognizable as art and absolutely amazing in the level of intricacy displayed, even in the earliest pieces. It's fitting then that the museum itself is a work of art. This is a picture of the main atrium--the star motif is used throughout--even in the shape of the building itself, if you look at google earth.

And, of course, as always, dogs:

That's our assistant Yehia on the left, and this is Ryan with Pipette, a very friendly stray puppy found some distance away, who was quite happy to donate a bit of her blood.

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