The Museum of Islamic Civilization is a three floored building consisting of the ground and first floors. An “entire first floor of the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization is devoted to Islamic Art” (Exhibits, 2016). Housed in the building are over five thousand exquisite Islamic artifacts. Each item is arranged according to a specific theme. The artifacts, which are stored in seven spacious galleries, were taken from all over the Islamic (Exhibits, 2016). Each floor has unique items of art that distinguishes it from the other.
The ground floor is rich in themes of the Islamic Faith. The gallery is designed with a sense of Islamic principles coupled with the Five Pillars of Islam. A series of historical photographs are displayed that communicate the remarkable achievements of the “ground-breaking contributions to disciplines as diverse as Astronomy, Medicine, Geography, the Natural Sciences and Architecture” (Exhibits, 2016). In the ground floor, there is a reception room that has scientific instruments for visitors to view.
In the first floor, one finds four spacious galleries devoted to Islamic art. A tour of the galleries makes one to “enjoy stunning images from all over the Muslim world and learn about the artistic achievements of its calligraphers and artisans” (Exhibits, 2016). The 1st century AH/ 7th century AD and the 7th century AH/ 13th are stored in the first gallery while the second gallery and Hellenistic and Persian models. A vist to the second gallery has items of the 13th century AH/ to late 19th century AD, while the third and fourth galleries have items of the 13th and 14th centuries AH/ 19th and 20th centuries AD.
Description of the Balance
The picture shows the mizan al hikma hydrostatic balance that is part of the scientific developments that occurred between the 07th and 14th centuries, which was first made by al-Asfizari. However, the balance was later redesigned and developed by Al Khazini who called it the ‘combined balance’ because it had earlier been developed by al-Asfizari as chronicled in the book of the ‘balance of wisdom’, which means, the balance of true wisdom (Bouchenaki, 2011). It is denoted in the balance of wisdom about the importance of the discoveries of different scientific instruments. In the picture, one can see the structure of the balance of wisdom that was created from the book written by Abu al Fath Khāzini. Here, the hydrostatic balance could be used to determine the density and purity of metals besides being used to establish the amount or ratio of different metals in an alloy. The functionality of the hydrostatic balance was based on the principles of the line of axis and center of gravity (Bouchenaki, 2011). According to Renn (2015), the equipment was designed to provide accurate readings of the specific gravities of different metals. It is stated that “while water, like earth, has a certain weight and falls as low as possible in the air, it is nevertheless lighter than earth” (Renn, 2015). This was coaored with an equal volume of displaced water and air for a given volume of substance. Records show that the instrument was used to establish the specific gravity of each of the fifty substances including metals, liquids, and precious stones. The balance was used to determine the specific gravities of different substances.
Bouchenaki, M. (2011). The extraordinary development of museums in the Gulf States. Museum International, 63(3‐4), 93-103.
Renn, J. (2015). From the History of Science to the History of Knowledge–and Back. Centaurus, 57(1), 37-53.
Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilizations: Exhibits. (2016). Web.