Publishing Date: 1994
The Pioneering interest by Private collectors, both in the Islamic and non- Islamic worlds, to acquire and preserve Islamic art and heritage began some 200 years ago at a time when many of the magnificent products of Muslim artists and artisans were seriously threatened with oblivion or loss. As a result, and particularly from the middle of the last century, these laudable collecting activities of Islamic art formed the core, in many instances, of some of the great collections of Islamic art in national and private museums throughout the world.
The Arab world saw in the recent past a cultural awakening and an increasing and accelerated interest in Islamic heritage in this area, particularly in the fields of the arts .this interest resulted in the formation and growth of some excellent private collections of Islamic art, one the most distinguished of which in the Dr. Abdul Latif Jassim Kanoo collections of the Islamic Art, the subject of our book. The collection is a composite one covering a wide range of subjects and materials which illustrate the progress, dexterity and great art of the Muslim artisans throughout their illustrated history.
Dr. Abdul Latif Jassim Kanoo's collections of Islamic Art began originally with a concentration on the acquisition of holy Quranic and other Islamic manuscripts. A large number of these magnificent works were collected from a variety of sources from numerous parts of the world, both east and west, through public sales or private purchases. it was with a great and concerted dedication that the collection was built, and as it expanded, it was realized that keeping such an important and all-encompassing collection of Islamic manuscripts, and Holy Qur’ans in particular, was an awesome responsibility that transcended the concept of ownership to the concept of custodianship. It was this feeling that inspired Dr. Kanoo to initiate the concept of Beit Al Qur’an the primary function of which was to be a depository for this great collection and keeper of this great heritage for future generations. The collection was subsequently donated to Beit Al Qur’an and this formed the foundation of the Beit Al Qur’an’s Al Hayat Museum Collection which can now lay claim to being one of the most important and comprehensive in the area.