Observation – The Trip to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

It took so long for me to post something here, just because I have a case of motion sickness when I got out of the plane on the ride home…just like the first time travelling by air. The sickness lasted for about a week and now I am fine and well, it’s time to post the things that features Islamic art I saw when I went there…something light before the usual studies.

I went to Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia a few weeks ago. I went there with my parents and my older brother – I just wanted to bring my parents out of the house (and country) and take a whiff on a different air. So I booked the flight as well as the apartment that we are going to stay 5 months in advance, and prepare the adequate amount of money to bring for my parents to use. The other reason I wanted to go to KL is that I learned that there is a museum in Kuala Lumpur that featured Islamic art and architecture, although I learned of the museum only after I booked everything. So I guess everyone was happy with this trip ; my parents and brother got a nice little vacation from the daily life we have here in Brunei, and I got a valuable lesson in the subject of Islamic art and architecture in the said museum.

But first, in this post I would like to show you some snaps that I take during the trip that shows Islamic art in the surroundings of Kuala Lumpur –

The metal grill above the KL Sentral which is shaped like the Islamic star. KL Sentral is the first place we went to once we landed from the LCCT airport terminal by riding a bus, about 45 minutes or so. The place, as suggested by its name, is in the center of KL, and it is the main transportation hub – there are trains , LRTs, buses and taxis all gathered here. the place is packed, as you can imagine, as there were also shops and restaurants and money changers there. The very next day we went to the place again, but this time it is not as packed since we went there rather early in the morning…and then I realized the building is full of Islamic influences – floors with eight-pointed star mosaics, window grills with geometrical design much like Masyrabia and the metal decoration dome above the station itself.

A fabric shop just along the famous Masjid Jamek Road. The road is full of fabric and clothing shop as well as Indian Muslim restaurants and many small entrepreneur stalls on the street. Most of the shops are manned by Indian or South Asian Muslim immigrant.  The street is also home of two mosques – a modern one and an old, very decorated Indian mosque hence the other name of the street – Jalan Masjid India. This one particular shop features an interesting facade – it almost looked like a moroccan carved Islamic arches (perhaps inspired from the Moorish castles of Alhambra) but on close inspection it clearly shows Mughal and Indian decorative style. The walls between the arches are carved with a repeating motif of eight-pointed stars and everything is done in white.

a money changer somewhere in KLCC. similar to the second photo, this one is a perfect arch facade before the shopfront itself. Again, influences from the Moorish arches are apparent with the smaller arches imitating the Mocarabe famous in the Moorish decorative art. The wall is also, like the second picture, carved (or plastered) with eight-pointed stars with circles inside. Curiously enough, the flooring of the premise feature Syrian/Egyptian marble mosaic.

And lastly,a preview of the Museum I was talking about! This is the main facade of the museum (as opposed to the Rehal gate, which I never get to see) which features azure tiles in the style of Iranian decoration. The otherwise modern facade is covered with the blue tiles and on top an inscription with a quote taken from the Quran. In front of the museum is the National Museum which I didn’t get the chance to visit as well.

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