To visit: Al Thani collection exhibition in Paris at the Hotel de la Marine

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To visit: Al Thani collection exhibition in Paris at the Hotel de la Marine

There once lived a Sheikh, Sheikh Hamad, an art enthusiast and collector of more than 5000 pieces. It is in the heart of Paris, at the Hotel de la Marine, where he has chosen to exhibit his Al Thani collection to the public. This collection is made up of 120 of his finest masterpieces.

Pack your suitcases, we are sharing our visit with you through our 8 favourite works. Ready to travel the world?

A Symbol of Egypt: Head of a Royal Figure – New Empire, 1475-1292 B.C.

The first treasure of the Al Thani exhibition takes us to Egypt. Carved from a piece of red jasper from the middle of the 18th dynasty, this head of a royal figure is a key piece in this collection. Witness to the height of ancient Egyptian civilization, this figure holds the mystery of the identity of this model. Some believe it to be Queen Hatchespout or King Thoutmosis, as the figure wears a blue crown and a bronze beard. A symbol of life, the red jasper that makes up this piece is in perfect condition, which allows us to admire its high artistic quality.

This work of art will surely make you want to go to Egypt and lose yourself in the pyramids. Booster2Success invites you on this journey without leaving Paris, by participating in our team building scavenger hunt at the Louvre, a hop and a skip away from the Hotel de la Marine! 

head of Egyptian royal figure

Benin, the jewel of the Al Thani collection: Queen Mother Idia, Edo People, 16th century

We continue our exploration in Benin, crossing paths with the mask-pendant of the Queen Mother Idia. A symbol of courage and virtue, this emblem of African art is an homage to the Iyoba Idia, queen consort and queen mother of the Benin kingdom in the 16th century. It was her son, King Esigie, who had a series of sculptures and mask-pendants to honour the memory of his mother.

After the death of the Queen Mother, King Esigie wore this pendant during the rituals and celebrations as a way to pay homage to her. Imbued with realism, this jewel resides at the Hotel de la Marine, composed of a multitude of little details you never tire of admiring. 

» READ ABOUT – Artistic and fun team building: Scavenger hunt at the Orsay Museum

hotel de la marine piece queen mother Idia

Welcome to Italy: the Bust of Emperor Hadrian – Southern Italy, 1240

We leave the gondolas in Venice to find ourselves face to face with the magnificent bust of Emperor Hadrian. Composed of three distinct elements, this masterpiece bears witness to a great Italian art. The medieval head made of chalcedony was made under the request of Frederic II, ruler of the Holy Empire, in one of his workshops in 1220. It portrays Emperor Hadrian, with immaculate details like his beard and curly hair.

His head rests on a vermillion bust, which was added in Venice, during the 16th century. The two pieces were positioned on a pedestal from the 1850s. The greatness of this piece of art gives all of its brilliance to our visit to the Al Thani Paris exhibition.  

bust emperor hadrien al thani collection paris

Retreat to Tibet: Banquet Service from the Al Thani collection – Yarlung Dynasty, 600-800 B.C.

We take a spiritual pause in this voyage around the world in front of this Tibetan banquet service. Commissioned for royal banquets, this table service was made by a Sogdian goldsmith in 600-800 B.C. We can admire the delicate work of these engravings, the reliefs made in gold, as well as the inlays of turquoise added by the Tibetan craftsman. It is with the gold in our eyes that we continue our journey through the Hotel de la Marine Paris

  • service à banquet assiette dynastie yarlung
  • service à banquet carafe dynastie yarlung
  • service à banquet aiguiere dynastie yarlung

Art and War in Turkey: Talismanic Tunic and Sabre of Suleiman the Magnificent – 16th century

The expedition continues in Turkey, where we can contemplate the art left behind by the war. These three pieces were worn by the grand sultans, here, Suleiman the Magnificent. On the left, lies the first sabre made of damascened steel and gold from Turkey at the end of the 16th century. In the centre, we can see the centrepiece: a cotton shirt covered in Koranic citations, prayers, and protective expressions. The tunic dates back to 1583-1584 and was worn under the warrior’s armour.

This piece made by calligraphers, astronomers, and astrologists is the fruit of months of work. On the right, we are captivated by the second sabre where we find the inscription, “sultan Suleiman Khan, son of sultan Selim.” This sabre, belonging to Suleiman the Magnificent, was also constructed with damascened steel and gold in 1520-1566. We can continue on this journey, even though we know that marvels of Turkey have already made you want to visit the Hotel de la Marine.

» ALSO READ – Selection of indoor team building activities in a museum for the winter

al thani collection saber and tunic of suleiman the magnificent

The Heat of Mexico: Maya Mask Pendant 200-600 B.C.

This mask pendant is one of the rarest pieces in the Al Thani collection. In fact, the hot climate and humidity of the native land of the Mayas makes preservation of the organic materials that make it up very difficult. Made of jade, its colour symbolises fertility and rebirth. The owner of this pendant kept it in a tomb to ensure it would provide them with eternal life. The headrest in the form of a jaguar represents royalty, suggesting that it belonged to a Maya ruler. This sacred piece honours the Al Thani exhibition, and leaves us in awe.

Maya mask pendant of Mexico

Religion and Spirituality in Iraq: Excerpt from the Blue Koran of the Al Thani Collection – 8th century

The journey continues in Iraq, where one of the most famous manuscripts in the world is said to come from the Koran. A folio of the blue Koran rests at the Al Thani exhibition in Paris, where you can look closely at the parchment laden with gold writing. It would have been written between the 8th and 10th centuries in Baghdad. This precious excerpt is Sura 2, Al-Baqara, the longest of the Koran. In front of this piece where time stands still, our minds guide us to the rest of our visit at the Hotel de la Marine.

excerpt from the blue coran sura al baqara collection al thani

Chinese Porcelain: Mahin Banu’s Plate – 15th century

We end our voyage with Mahin Banu’s plate, like a delicious dessert. This porcelain plate was made in China at the beginning of the 15th century. It is decorated with three bunches of grapes and leaves from the same vine stem. The first inscription dating back to the 16th century reveals that it belonged to princess Mahin Abnu

A secondary inscription dating from 1644 indicates that it belonged to Mughal Emperor Shâh Jahân. If this Chinese treasure makes you want to discover new things, Booster2Success invites you to participate in a team building treasure hunt in the Tuileries Garden!

mahin banu Chinese porcelain plate presentation hotel de la marine

So that your artistic tour of the world does not end with this article, we invite you to discover all the other pieces in the Al Thani collection at the Hotel de la Marine. You can even continue your journey in the heart of the pyramids of the Louvre by following our guide to the unique pieces in the Louvre!

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