Profile of the Museum für Islamische Kunst

The Museum für Islamische Kunst presents its diverse collection of Islamic art at the Pergamonmuseum on the Museumsinsel Berlin. It is after the Museum of Islamic Art in Cairo the oldest and one of the most important collections of its kind in the world. It occupies an unrivalled position in Germany – no other institution contains such a systematic and comprehensive collection of masterpieces of art and applied arts and objects of material culture stemming from Islamic societies as well as the Christian and Jewish communities living among them.

The pièce de résistance in the collection is the ornately decorated yet no less monumental façade from the palace of Mshatta, which the Ottoman Sultan Abdülhamid II presented to the museum as a gift. Together with this seminal work of architecture, the collection’s array of objects spanning all genres are testimony to the high aesthetic, artistic, artisanal, and technical skill of the masters who crafted them. They include centuries-old pages of the Koran, with their splendidly colourful decorations, prayer rugs, ivory carvings, and the dazzling turquoise faience mosaics of mihrabs (prayer niches). These objects boast a bewildering and intense sense of colour, form, and pattern. The collection’s holdings span all epochs of Islamic history from the 7th to 19th century, and also include Old South Arabian antiquities and ancient Iranian artefacts.

Besides showcasing such works, the Museum für Islamische Kunst is also one of the leading research institutions in its field and is active, both at home and abroad, in the areas of conservation, cultural heritage protection in Islamic countries, international cultural exchange, and (inter)cultural education in Germany.