Oriental carpets, ceramics and other lavish works of art were often exhibited to evoke the atmosphere of the One Thousand and One Nights.
Initially, Islamic art was displayed at the universal exhibitions until a number of specialised international exhibitions took place during the second half of the century. These exhibitions, which showed a blend of connoisseurship and scholarship, promoted trade and exploited a growing interest in the formation of collections. The first was in Paris in 1855, followed by those in London, Vienna, Rome, and then Munich in 1910. While museums’ interest in exhibiting works of art from around the world developed, representatives from them travelled in search of objects. A growing awareness among the Islamic countries that they had a responsibility to preserve their antiquities, led to the creation of organisations such as the Comité de Conservation des Monuments de l’Art Arabe in 1881 by the Khedive of Egypt Muhammad ‘Ali Tawfiq and, thereafter, to the Museum of Islamic Art in Egypt.