Doha: Though collectors of Islamic artifacts in Gulf countries have recently grown in numbers, a majority of buyers of historical Islamic objects in the world are not Muslims, according to a senior official of an international auction house.
Many collectors of Islamic artifacts are based outside the Middle East, Edward Gibbs (pictured), Chairman and Head of Sotheby’s Middle East Department, told The Peninsula.
“Many buyers of Islamic arts are based outside the Middle East. There are many collectors in Europe, North America and the Far East, in countries like Malaysia and Japan.”
Gibbs said that many non-Muslims were fascinated by Islamic art because they felt a connection with it.
“I am a non-Muslim but it appeals to me because it’s beautiful. Each of these objects is a historical document and it has an interesting story to tell. I became interested in the subject by travelling to Egypt, Syria and Turkey, to the Gulf and Morocco,” he said.
Gibbs was in Doha for an exhibition that featured a selection of 24 highlights from 281 objects from Sotheby’s forthcoming ‘Arts of the Islamic World’ sale in London.
The pieces gave an insight into Muslim culture, encompassing almost 1,400 years and included ceramics, metalwork, manuscripts, jewellery, weapons and paintings that exemplify the broad artistic traditions of the Muslim world.