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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 February, 2004, 11:09 GMT
V&A's 5.4m gift for Islamic art
Bowl, V&A Islamic art gallery
Historic artefacts such as this Islamic bowl will adorn the gallery
The Victoria and Albert Museum is to open a new gallery of Islamic art with a 5.4m donation from a Saudi company.

It will house treasures from the V&A's collection of more than 10,000 ancient Islamic objects from the Middle East.

The donation is from the Oxford-based motor company Hartwell, part of the Abdul Latif Jameel Group.

It will allow the London museum to transform a gallery to show thousands of artefacts including carpets, glass, ceramics and woodwork, from 2006.

The museum said it was one of the most generous gifts it had ever received.

Casket, V&A Islamic art gallery
This casket is among the V&A's Islamic treasures
The gallery will be named The Jameel Gallery of Islamic Art after Abdul Latif Jameel, late founder of the Saudi parent company.

The gallery will include such famous pieces as the Ardabil Carpet from 16th Century Iran - said to be one of the largest and finest carpets in existence.

Displays will include carved ivories from Islamic Spain, inlaid metalwork from medieval Egypt, Iznik ceramics from Ottoman Turkey, tile work from 14th Century Uzbekistan and oil paintings from 19th Century Iran.

The donation will also fund a touring exhibition of the artworks which will visit the US and Japan before returning to the UK in Sheffield ahead of the gallery's scheduled opening in 2006.

The Abdul Latif Jameel Group, founded in Saudi Arabia 60 years ago, has a reputation for philanthropy.

It has funded a $30m (16m) project providing vocational training for young Saudis, and developed programmes helping Saudi women to learn new skills.




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