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Research & cooperation

With its rich art and archaeological collection, the Museum für Islamische Kunst (Museum for Islamic Art) is one of the world’s leading research institutions dedicated to the material culture of the Middle East and neighbouring regions. Our manifold research, conservation, and exhibition projects amount to an especially probing investigation of the urban legacies of the Near and Middle East. The collection’s artefacts of most relevance to this particular area of research stem, for the most part, from various large excavations. The excavation of the famous caliphate capital of Samarra in Iraq (undertake in 1911 and 1013) is considered tio be the birth of Islamic archaeology, and was further sepplemented by finds from the Sasanien capital Ctesiphon in Iraq, the Abbasid capital of Raqqah in Syria and the Mongolian summer palace Takht-e Soleyman in Iran.

More than fifteen external scholars and research assistants are currently busy working with our own staff on various projects associated with the museum’s collections. These research endeavours cover such areas as scholarly interpretation and contextualization, technical analysis and materials, restoration and conservation, and documentation. An overarching goal for all research endeavours is the visitor-oriented display of artefacts and information when the new permanent exhibition opens after renovation work on the Pergamonmuseum has been completed. Interdisciplinary collaboration with various project partners is absolutely essential for research in these areas to be successful.

The Museum für Islamische Kunst is a member of:

  • the DFG-run Excellence Cluster Topoi (Formation and Transformation of Space and Knowledge in Ancient Civilizations), specifically: 'Ctesiphon – mediation of archaeological research in the museum, based on the architectural traditions in the Sasanian and Islamic period', project C-3-1);
  • 'Europe in the Middle East – the Middle East in Europe', a research programme run by the Forum Transregionale Studien formally by the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Fritz Thyssen Foundation, and Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin;
  • 'Connecting Art Histories in the Museum: The Mediterranean and Asia 400–1650', a research programme run by the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence, the Max-Planck Gesellschaft, and Staatliche Museen zu Berlin;
  • 'Episteme in Motion' (Objects of transfer – approaches to raising awareness in the museum context of transfer processes that occurred between the Middle East and Europe in the pre-modern era) run by the DFG/Freie Universität, Berlin;
  • the Zentrum Transkulturelle Studien 'Art Histories – history of art and aesthetic practices'; a research and fellowship programme initiated by the KHI Florenz (Max-Planck-Institute) in cooperation with the art history departments and the museums in Berlin.

Research and cooperation projects at the Museum für Islamische Kunst