Sunday, September 23, 2012

Louvre Opens Islamic Art Wing to the Public

The Muslim Mona b
Abdul Da Vinci
France 24.com - Paris's famed Louvre museum on Saturday opened to the public a new wing of Islamic art in a bid to improve knowledge of a religion often viewed with suspicion in the West.

Costing nearly 100 million euros ($131 million), it is funded by the French government and supported by handsome endowments from Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Kuwait, Oman and Azerbaijan. About 3,000 precious works from the seventh to the 19th centuries are spread across 3,000 square metres (33,000 square feet) over two levels of the former palace.

Inaugurated by President Francois Hollande on Tuesday, the new wing holds 18,000 treasures from an area stretching from Europe to India and includes the oldest love letter in the Islamic world. Denise Spacensky, one of the first visitors Saturday, said the opening came at an opportune time "with everything that is happening in the world", stressing that the exhibits show "Islam as a refined, peaceful civilisation".


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