The Chester Beatty Library was established in Dublin, Ireland in 1950, to house the collections of mining magnate, Sir Alfred Chester Beatty. The present library, on the grounds of Dublin Castle, opened on February 7, 2000, the 125th anniversary of Beatty's birth and was named European Museum of the Year in 2002.
The Library's collections are displayed in two collections: "Sacred Traditions" and "Artistic Traditions". Both displays exhibit manuscripts, miniature paintings, prints, drawings, rare books and some decorative arts from the Islamic, East Asian and Western Collections. The Library is one of the premier sources for scholarship in both the Old and New Testaments and is home to one of the most significant collections of Islamic and Far Eastern artefacts. The museum also offers numerous temporary exhibitions, many of which include works of art on loan from foreign institutions and collections. The museum contains a number of priceless objects, including one of the surviving volumes of the first illustrated Life of the Prophet and the Gospel of Mani believed to be the last remaining artefact from Manichaeism.
The Western Collection houses many illuminated manuscripts, rare books and Old Master prints and drawings. The collection of papyri is one of the most extensive in the world and includes almost the entire corpus of Ancient Egyptian Love Songs.
The Islamic Collection is divided between the Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Qur'an and Mughal-Era Indian Collections. The Arabic text include treaties on religion, history, jurisprudence, medicine, geography, mathematics, astronomy and linguistics. Some of the finest miniatures from imperial Mughal albums, called Muraqqa', are housed in the Chester Beatty Library; with important paintings from the Late Shah Jahan Album and the Minto Album. The albums were the subject of an exhibition and publication by the Islamic curator, Dr. Elaine Wright, Muraqqa': Imperial Albums of the Chester Beatty Library. Often on display is the Ibn al-Bawwab Qur'an, copied by one of the greatest medieval Islamic calligraphers.
East Asian Collections
The East Asian Collection has one of the most extensive collections of carved snuff bottles, many of which were included in the catalogue: The Chester Beatty Library, Dublin: Chinese Snuff Bottles. It also has good Japanese arts, including a pair of long picture-scrolls painted in the 17th century by Kanō Sansetsu.