The exhibition hall, Jan. 13. (Photo/Huang Shih-chi)
An exhibition in Taipei showcasing cultural and religious objects from the Islamic world will kick off Tuesday with the aim of improving the Taiwanese public's understanding of Islamic life and culture.
The Exhibition of Islamic Life and Culture at the National Taiwan Museum will display over 200 items, including precious manuscripts of the Qur'an, the central religious text of Islam, the museum said.
It will also feature Muslim clothes, prayer caps, beads, and mats, incense burners, tapestries and other everyday objects used by Muslims.
"This is the first comprehensive Islamic exhibition in Taiwan," National Taiwan Museum director Chen Chi-ming said.
Although Muslims make up approximately 25% of the world's population, Chen said the general public in Taiwan is very unfamiliar with Islamic culture and he expressed hope that the exhibition will help change that.
"If we do not have a clear understanding of the origins of Islamic culture ... we will not be able to realize its true face and give it due respect," Chen said.
Wu Se-hwa, president of National Chengchi University in Taipei, expressed similar hopes.
"We hope the exhibition will help Taiwanese gain a better understanding of Islamic culture and lead to further exchanges between the two sides," Wu said.
Despite being touted as a comprehensive exhibition, Hu Ya-fei, president of the Taiwan Association of Islamic Studies, said the exhibition is smaller than he had hoped, as it was difficult collecting objects for display from among Taiwan's relatively small Muslim population.
He said he hopes more items can be shown to the public in the future.
The exhibition is being jointly organized by the museum, the Taiwan Association of Islamic Studies and National Chengchi University. It will last until June 22.