Gunpowder and Essence
Over the past five centuries, Islamic societies have been fascinated by all kinds of Islamic art, which has continued to evolve aesthetically and technically as a reflection of different trends and practices throughout history. That weapons in those societies were considered precious possessions which expressed their owner’s personal taste and social status on the one hand, and the creativity of craftsmen and the high levels of workmanship on the other, directly influenced the aesthetics of the weapons containing all styles of Islamic art that has been passed down to us today.
Al-Mansoori’s collection is a modest effort to preserve this great legacy that has been neglected of deserving consideration by various scientific, historical, and artistic research institutions, as well as of appreciation by individuals in the Arab world. This will hopefully act as both a tribute and a resource for researchers and acquirers of Islamic weapons which, while having been used by bygone societies, have come to represent a contemporary witness to their history.
Fadel bin Rashid Al-Mansoori is a retired pilot of the Qatar Armed Forces. He has held several positions including Joint Operations Officer of the General Command, as well as Aviation Squadron Commander in the Air Force. He successfully completed several training and academic courses, including the Command and Staff course in 2006. He joined the Qatar Emiri Air Force as a pilot officer in 1995 after completing his aviation studies in Britain. Over the course of his studies, he was awarded the Over Seas Prize in 1993 and The Chif Ground Instructor Cup in 1994 from the Royal Air Force College Cranwell.
The author is passionate about the aesthetics and innovations of the arms industry in the Islamic world and has been on a journey of weapons acquisitions for the past decade. He has a great interest in restoration and is an advocate of the culture of restoration among collectors. The author held the first exhibition of his collection at the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha in 2017 under the name ‘Gunpowder and Essence.’ Four pieces from his collection were then selected for the book Eastern Swords, published in Britain in 2018.
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