July issue 2006
Once again, the Mohatta Palace Museum’s Board of Trustees have outdone themselves. The preview of the newest Mohatta exhibit, a composition of the ceramic traditions of Pakistan, cleverly named ‘Tale of the Tile,’ was held on Friday, June 23, 2006, on the Mohatta’s lush lawns. The humidity of the evening was redeemed by the beautiful view awarded to those few who were present. Largely comprising the familiar faces who grace all such art exhibits, there weren’t as many people as such an exhibit merits.
Starting relatively punctually (only half an hour later than invited), it began with an hour-long lecture by Dr. Rafique Mughal, Professor of Archaeology and Heritage at Boston University in the US, a well known scholar in his field, who provided the audience with an adequate basis to appreciate the tile heritage of Pakistan.
The lecture was followed by an impassioned speech made by Hameed Haroon, originally called on stage to extend a second thank you to those who had made this possible, after which the display was open to the audience.
Staying true to its name, the gorgeous exhibit travels through many time periods and contains ceramic traditions of various origins and designs. Since tiles have historically been most commonly used to decorate places of worship and royalty in Pakistan, it was no surprise that most of the artefacts present are either originals from, or replicas of those on shrines of well known saints such as Lal Qalandar, Bibi Jawandi and Shaikh Baha al-Din Zakarya, or mosques, such as the Shah Jehan mosque in Thatta. One of the most breathtaking pieces on display is an arch re-assembled from the shrine of Lal Qalandar. Completing the collection are the works of renowned contemporary Pakistani ceramists.
Having acquired more than 500 pieces from both public and private collections, this exhibit is quite a feat considering the meagre funds the Mohatta Palace Museum team works with.