About the Museum’s collection
The Museum of Islamic Art’s collection encompasses works of art, culture and archeology from Muslim-influenced societies, ranging from late antiquity to the modern era. Its exhibits originate from an area stretching from the Mediterranean Basin to Anatolia, the Near East, Central Asia and India. Consequently, there is a direct connection in terms of geography and cultural history between the Museum’s exhibitions and those of the Antikensammlung (Collection of Classical Antiquities) and the Vorderasiatisches Museum (Museum of the Ancient Near East), both of which are also housed in the Pergamonmuseum. This affords visitors an extensive and in-depth exposure to the art and cultural history of those centuries and regions in a single location.
A visit to the Museum of Islamic Art is organized chronologically in terms of dynasties and different periods. The early period, with the great empires of the first caliphs (7th to 10th century), displays the traditions drawing on the pre-Islamic cultures of the classical world and Iran. Its key attraction is the façade of the desert palace of Mshatta. From the façade and the stucco walls that came from residences and palaces in the legendary caliphal city of Samarra in today’s Iraq – one of the largest cities of all time -- emerges a panorama of early Islamic history that can be seen nowhere else in the world.
Illustrating the middle period (11th to 15th century) are painted prayer niches from Kashan (Iran) and Konya (Turkey), fine examples of inlay work on metal vessels and the famous and extraordinarily detailed carved ceiling that came from a tower in a palace pavilion in Granada’s Alhambra.
The acclaimed Berlin carpet collection, with its intense and brightly colored patterns, belongs for the most part to the early modern period (16th to 18th century). The Aleppo Room, with its magnificently painted wall paneling – undeniably a highlight of the collection -- dates from that period as well.
In addition, the museum possesses one of the highest-quality specialized libraries of Islamic art, archeology and material culture. As a research institution it cooperates internationally with universities and museums, particularly in the regions from which its items originate.
In all its activities, and amidst the current, very difficult public discourse on Islam, the Museum of Islamic Art views itself as an advocate and intermediary of culture at the highest level. The museum’s exhibitions enable people to discover the history of other cultures, thereby facilitating an understanding of the present. That is why the collection, as a cultural repository of Muslim societies, holds special political relevance today, both inside and outside Germany.
More information about the museum's collection and current exhibitions can be found here:
c/o Museum für Islamische Kunst
Phone: +49 (0)30 26642 5201