Louis XIV goes Arabic in historic and rather delicate Louvre excavation

After centuries of being shut inside some of Paris’ most prestigious museums, dozens of relics from King Abdulaziz’s Saadiyat Palace have been acquired by the most sought-after collection in the city, the Musée du Louvre.

The collection, officially known as the Late House of Abu Dhabi, includes 27 bits of jewelry, 5,000 pieces of furniture, 9,000 tiles, and tons of fine textiles, as well as rare ornaments from the golden period of the Mausoleum of the Prophet Muhammad.

The palace was built in 1934 to showcase the treasures of Abu Dhabi’s ruling al-Hashemi family, which were sent to them by the British after the foundation of the Emirate.

A specially commissioned company, Faberge and Maison du Louvre, has taken up the task of carrying out the intricate restoration work on the artifacts. Both Faberge and the Louvre have also taken on some of the restoration work.

On a visit to the royal museum in Abu Dhabi earlier this year, which houses the vast majority of the collection, visitors saw the first painting commissioned by its monarch, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

The work is not complete yet, but visitors can expect to see the team in action in the coming months.

“Every time you ask someone if they know what this is, they will start shaking their head and say, ‘What is it?’ ” says Valentino Perna, head of the Louvre collections in Europe. “They’re not ready for a house full of treasures, this was a big surprise to them.”

Read the full story at The Musee du Louvre.

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