When I left the exhibition of the Great Arts of Islam at the Art Gallery of NSW, I came away with three thoughts burning in my mind. The first was how little I knew about the Islamic culture and yet how connected it is to the culture of the West. Astronomy, astrology, science and religion, intertwining to present a world view which seems to share such strong foundations with our own. We are as one under the busy old sun.
The second was a tiny green and gold glass tumbler made in the 11th Century which shone with antique luminescence for me as it has done for many others for hundreds of years. The antithesis of our throwaway, disposable culture which is drastic plastic and utterly unfantastic.
But last was my new knowledge of the supremacy of Baghdad as the centre world of Islam from the ninth to the thirteenth century. They could not have known that a 'coalition of the willing' at the very beginning of the twenty first century, would have destabilised their city to such an extent that its Islamic treasures and meaning would become as disposable as the culture the coalition represents.