Islamic Antiques Museum

Hello sweetie-pies! Urbndervish here! I know, I know, I know. It’s been a long time! Well, rain is more welcomed after a drought! 😉

As is evident from the previous post from eternitysojourner, one of the fun-filled, romantic activities that we participated in for our anniversary was a sexy stroll through an Islamic antiques museum in Algiers! Ok, I know that is very nerdy but I have learned to embrace my inner- (and “outer-” according to some) dork! Ok, there, I said it! After years of justifying my comic book collecting as “active preservation of Americana,” I can finally admit “I’m a nerd!” Regardless, I ended up marrying a former cheerleader! So, how ya like me now, junior varsity football squad?! 

What can I say about the museum? Unfortunately, we were not able to take photographs while inside!  However, the card that we were given had the website posted. Feel free to peruse.

We first entered the coinage room which contained…well, coins. There were coins from most major Muslim dynasties: the Ummayads, Abbassids, Fatimids, Rustamids, Ottomans, and others. It is interesting that the first order of any kingdom or dynasty is to inundate the conquered with its currency!

Next we hiked up the winding stairs to enter the main museum. It was harrowing to see that eternitysojourner and I were the only patrons there! There were plenty employees turning their attention to us from every corner.

Most of the artifacts ranged from clothing to personal hygiene objects, like antique hand mirrors, perfume bottles, and ancient eye-liner (kohl). There were other items such as embroidered scabbards. This demonstrated to me that the people of the past had an eye for detail and aesthetics!

What peaked most of my interest (of course) were the ancient texts they had. They had handwritten copies of the Qur’an as well as books of jurisprudence. Many of these handwritten books of jurisprudence are considered relics of the past in these days and are relatively unknown. Although these authors dedicated much of their lives and effort to make Islamic jurisprudence easy for the layperson to comprehend by toilingly extracting rulings and judgments from the primary sources, many of these scholars have faded into obscurity and have been replaced by impulsive self-made muftis.

One of the other antique books of interest was an illustrated account written in French about one of the famous ancestors of the Arabs named Antar. What was interesting about this text was that the book portrayed Antar, unmistakenly, as a Black man! This means full lips, dark skin, and broad nose! 

There were also a fair share of embroidered chests. Many of the things in the museum reflected the complex hodgepodge of modern Algerians. Clothing from the Mozab people, tools from the Kabili people, tea sets from the Toureg.

We ended our tour by visiting another building that houses much of the stonework from the early period. Everything was Roman: reliefs, columns, naked statues, etc. There were also gravestones with Latin, Arabic, and Hebrew written on them. The highlight of that place was the friendly security guard who after finding out that we were from the States, proceeded to quiz me on the capitals of each state! Of course, I failed miserably! His knowledge was encyclopedic, I must say! He said that he knew all of the capitals of the states of the US and the provinces of Canada.  He made me promise that I send him a postcard from Tallahassee, FL once I returned to the US!  

That’s about it regarding our museum fun-fest adventure!

Lesson learned: Review the names of the capital cities of each state in case we visit a museum in another country!


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