Spice Journeys : Taste and Trade in the Islamic World

18 Jan 2007 – 24 Jun 2007

 The story of the spice trade is closely linked to the global spread of Islam. Spice traders, the most prominent of whom were from the Middle East, travelled far and wide in search of trading activity. Their search had a notable impact on the course of world history in general, and on Southeast Asia in particular, where many valuable spices are still found.

The exhibition Spice Journeys highlights the role of Muslim merchants in the spread of Islam as well as raising awareness of the richness and diversity of spices and cuisines in the Islamic world. Among the avenues that are explored is the significance of spices and their importance as a commodity in the Islamic world. Ceremonies of hospitality such as coffee, tea, betel nut and incense indicate that to serve one’s guest was akin to serving the Almighty himself. Concern for the wayfarer – stranger, friend and kin alike – was expressed in terms of food, drink and shelter.

As the story of spices is ultimately that of people, the exhibition will engage the viewer in this experience. Scenes of bazaars, for example, will attempt to draw on all the five senses. In this way it is not information that is communicated but also a lasting experience.

A publication for the exhibition is available at the Museum Shop, please click here for more information.