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India's largest art museum to open Islamic gallery

The Salar Jung Museum in Hyderabad contains around 2,500 objects related to Islamic faiths and traditions

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The Salar Jung Museum in Hyderabad is one of India's largest museums

The Salar Jung Museum in Hyderabad is one of India's largest museums

The Salar Jung Museum in Hyderabad, southern India will receive a gallery dedicated to Islamic art by next year.

The museum is India's largest focused on art (and its third largest in total), containing more floor space than either Tate Modern or the Rijksmuseum. At present its 46,000-strong collection holds around 2,500 Islamic works and artefacts, which are divided among Indian, Middle Eastern and European galleries. The opening of an Islamic gallery will allow these objects, which range from Persian rugs to jewels owned by the Mughal rulers of the South Asian subcontinent, to be presented together.

Spread over two floors in the vast museum's eastern wing, the new gallery will measure around 26,000 sq.ft. Among its highlights will be a fruit knife with a jade hilt and inlaid with precious stones belonging to Queen Nur Jahan and the oldest folio of the Quran in the Kufi script, dated to the ninth century.

Work on the Islamic gallery was meant to begin last year but was delayed due to the pandemic, according to the museum's director, A. Nagender Reddy. But he confirms that construction has now begun and is due for completition "by the end of 2022", with the gallery opening next year.

Since its founding in 1951, the Salar Jung Museum has housed the largest collection of art and antiques attributed to one person: the Nawab Mir Yousuf Ali Khan, Salar Jung III, a former prime minister of Hyderabad.

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