Private funding allows a large selection of objects from the collection of the Museum für Islamische Kunst to be digitally catalogued and published online


The Staatliche Museen zu Berlin’s Museum für Islamische Kunstt has begun the process of making more than 11,000 objects from its collection accessible online, making large sections of one of the world’s most significant museum collections of Islamic cultural artefacts available to researchers and the broader public alike. This crucial work has been made possible by the generous support of Yousef Jameel, a private patron of education, research and the arts.

“We are pleased that thanks to this donation we can begin this important work on our collection”, said Stefan Weber, Director of the Museum für Islamische Kunst. “We would like to thank Yousef Jameel for his generous gesture, as well as the many specialists who were involved in this meticulous and detailed work. Our ultimate aim is to digitize and publish our entire collection online, which will require years of additional work.”

Between 2012 and 2017, an interdisciplinary team of art historians, archaeologists, photographers, museologists and conservators catalogued, documented and photographed a significant portion of the collection. They recorded the essential details of the museum objects, such as their dating, origin, materials and production techniques. Additionally, the objects were photographed from various angles, in order to capture any particularly interesting details.

The Museum für Islamische Kunst’s collection comprises works of art and cultural and archaeological artefacts from Islamic societies spanning from Late Antiquity to the modern era. Geographically, it covers a region that reaches from the southern and eastern Mediterranean, across Anatolia, the Middle East and Central Asia, and right over to India. Following the completion of the digitization process, a representative sample of artworks and material cultural objects are now accessible online – including rugs, textiles, and objects made of metal, glass, ceramics and ivory.

For the first time, there are also finds from archaeological digs coordinated by the museum in Samarra, Khirbat al-Minya/Tabgha, Raqqa and Ctesiphon. Of particular note is the complete digitization of two outstanding Persian illuminated manuscripts: a more than 900-page anthology for the Timurid Prince Baisunqur from 1420 and an ornate 1560–70 Qur’an of more than 600 pages. With this, the online presentation represents an ideal complement to the exhibition housed in the Pergamonmuseum.

The objects can be seen in the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin’s digital database under “Museum für Islamische Kunst”.