• SL Saoud Antique World En


While Egyptology remained his main focus, Sheikh Saoud was equally fascinated by other ancient civilizations. Most of the masterpieces from this part of the collection date from the Greek and Roman periods. He also collected artefacts from the Ancient Middle East, including Iran and Southern Arabia, as well as South America.  Many of the artefacts feature antelopes, one of Sheikh Saoud’s favourite animals, which demonstrate how his personal interests link his varied collecting practices together.


Miniature portrait of the Emperor Rudolf II (r. 1576-1612)Shaped as a hand weight, the function of this object is unknown. It looks similar to the ‘handbags’ represented on Assyrian reliefs, symbols of the cosmos. It features the ‘master of animals’, a heroic hybrid figure - half-man, half-cheetah - fighting against two large snakes, symbols of death.

Weight with handles
Iran, Jiroft, Bronze Age, 2nd half of 3rd millennium BCE
Carved chlorite
Collection of The Sheikh Saoud Bin Mohamed Ali Al Thani Foundation, Qatar


Miniature portrait of the Emperor Rudolf II (r. 1576-1612)This exceptional piece is one of the few surviving examples of ‘cage cups’, and represents the highest level of Roman glass craftsmanship for the elite. Very little is known about the centres of production for this highly skilled craft with Rome, Alexandria, Trier or Cologne each mentioned in recent studies.

The Constable-Maxwell ‘Cage-Cup’ (Vas Diatreta)
Mediterranean or Germany, Roman empire, c. 300 CE
Blown and carved colourless glass
Qatar Museums, STM.AN.EU.2665


Miniature portrait of the Emperor Rudolf II (r. 1576-1612)Large, spectacular textiles woven in sophisticated techniques are characteristic of the production of the Andean people and were fundamental elements of official ceremonies. This textile shows a caravan of multicoloured llamas carrying goods on their back, showing the importance of this animal for Andean societies.

Pre-Columbian ceremonial tunic
Peru, possibly Huari culture, 600-1000 CE
Tapestry woven camelid hair (llama or alpaca) on cotton warp
Qatar Museums, QM.2016.0430

Main image credit

Mosaic panel with an antelope
Mediterranean, Late Roman - Byzantine period, 4th- 6th century CE
Polychrome marble tesserae
Collection of The Sheikh Saoud Bin Mohamed Ali Al Thani Foundation, Qatar
Qatar Museums, NH.FO.2013