Antiques provide special sub-plot to book fair

  • Gulf News
  • 1 April 2012
  • Nathalie Farah and Nada al Taher

Some collections feature early records of the UAE

Abu Dhabi. - Antique items always have a fun and quirky side to them, and some collections on display at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair are no exception.


Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, foreign minister, was among visitors to the book fair on Friday evening.

Shaikh Abdullah toured the fair being held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Centre (Adnec) and stopped at stands put up by various publishing houses. He also attended part of the signing ceremony of the new novel Shahinda, written by former foreign minister Rashid Abdullah.

Shaikh Abdullah visited the stand of the Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre and had a look at the organisation's latest publication, a book that compares the Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque with 19 other landmark mosques worldwide.
Members of the public were also given an opportunity to get up close to books written on a variety of subjects across the centuries, several of which included some early references to the UAE.

Special programme

Book lovers are sure to be spoilt for choice as they browse through the 500,000 titles in 33 languages being offered by 904 participants from 54 countries, at the 22nd edition of the event. A special programme is due from this year's 'Country of Focus', the United Kingdom, during the fair's six-day run.

"We have a manuscript journal that mentions Shaikh Zayed Bin Khalifa AI Nahyan [also known as Zayed the Great] who ruled Abu Dhabi between 1840 and 1909. It was written by a British navy officer who was cruising through the Arabian Gulf at the time," said Hugo Wetscherek, a representative of the Antiquariat Inlibris Gilhofer.

"Another rare book we have is a Latin manuscript that dates back to 1332. It contains one of the earliest mentions of Arabian medicine and has 130 references to Ibn Sina," he added.

While interested parties have inquired about the items available, Laurens Hesselink, a representative from the Antiquariaat Forum, noted that demand had declined for such items in recent years. "We have not had a lot of buyers in recent years in the various fairs we participate in, however, overall, we are satisfied with the level of interest that remains...the recession has not really affected us but at the same time, these types of books are not for everyone," he said.