The star pieces of the collection are the textiles, whose age, quality and rarity have made them world famous. Highly exceptional is the gold-inlaid helmet of Sultan Ibn Qalawun, dating from ca.1300.
The design of the gallery is inspired by Islamic architecture. External light is tempered by a mashrabiyya, a wooden, wickerwork screen used in traditional building in the Near and Middle East to keep out sunlight and heat, but nevertheless to allow ventilation. A reconstruction of a mosque from North-western Pakistan, which integrates original elements in woodcarving, serves further to evoke that architecture. A mezzanine along the length of the gallery is equipped for temporary exhibitions.
Velvet with a çintamani pattern
The costly materials, the weaving technique and dyes of this rare velvet suggest that it was made in the second half of the 15th century for the Ottoman court, probably at Bursa, the centre of Ottoman silk industry.
Alexandra Van Puyvelde