In July 1975, Sheikh Nasser Sabah Ahmed al-Sabah showed his wife, Sheikha Hussah Sabah al-Salem al-Sabah, a splendid enamelled glass bottle dating from the Mumluk period (Egypt or Syria, 14th century), the first object of Islamic art he had acquired during one of his travels. It marked the start of an extraordinary adventure that mingled intelligence, love, research, curiosity and farsightedness. In eight years of concentrated and passionate work, the couple collected about 20,000 works of art, including masterpieces, many of which are deserving of study for the way they shed new light on techniques and little-known aspects, or intriguing pieces whose provenance has yet to be unravelled.
On the occasion of the Kuwait’s National Day in February 1983, Sheikh Nasser and Sheikha Hussah offered their country the inestimable gift of the permanent loan of their collection to the National Museum of Kuwait. This volume illustrates 300 from among the most beautiful objects in the Collection and, for those exploring the Islamic world for the first time, describes its culture and art on a chronological (from the early days to the great 16th-century empires) and thematic basis (calligraphy, geometric decoration, arabesques and figurative art). Lastly, there is a section dedicated to jewels, for which the collection is renowned worldwide.