Paris' Louvre Museum unveils Islamic Art wing
PARIS (AP) - The Louvre Museum is unveiling a new wing and galleries dedicated to the arts of Islam, culminating a nearly 100 million euro (S$159 million), decade-long project coming to fruition amid tensions between the Muslim world and the West.
The new dragonfly-shaped building marks the famed Paris museum's greatest development since its iconic glass pyramid constructed 20 years ago. The Department of Islamic Art will exhibit much of the Louvre's 18,000 works, hoping also to foster cultural understanding.
Mosaics from the Damascus mosque and a 15th-century Mamluk porch are among works spanning from 632 to 1800 A.D. Donors included Morocco's King Mohammed VI and Saudi Prince Waleed Bin Talal's foundation.
Louvre director Henri Loyrette says the galleries aim to showcase "the radiant face of a civilization." The wing, with its mission of heightening cross-cultural understanding, is opening at a tense - and perhaps opportune - time.