It is impossible to imagine the cultural history of Europe without the carpets and tapestries produced by Islamic cultures. They attest to the continual cultural dialogue between Europe and the Near and Middle East, and form a particular focus in the permanent exhibition of the Museum für Islamische Kunst. Through a redesign of the exhibition rooms, these vivid carpets and tapestries now invite guests to experience the origins and history of the collection with all their senses, and to catch a glimpse of current work being carried out on the carpets.
The exhibition features some of the oldest pieces in the collection, originating from the estate of the founder of the museum, Wilhelm von Bode. His interest in Islamic art as an independent art form that was equal to that of Europe was the original impetus for this collection, which even today remains a rarity, including carpets and tapestries from present-day Turkey, Iran and the Caucasus.
For the first time, this exhibition displays textiles that were damaged by fire during the hail of bombs that rained down on Berlin in 1945. The destruction of important Persian carpets in that year was a heavy loss for the collection. One of the fragments featured is the Persian carpet from the sixteenth century that in 1904 was assigned the inventory number “I.1”, identifying it as the first work of art in the collection. Another highly characteristic item is the Caucasian dragon rug from the sixteenth century, which exhibits burn damage over its entire length of six metres. A fragrance station with a specially created scent redolent of charred wool, fire bombs and chemicals makes the losses of this era palpable to the visitor. And with models that teach weaving techniques, visitors are able to get a first hand experience of how these fabrics are formed.
The measures employed to preserve the carpet and tapestry collection in the post-war era will be juxtaposed with today’s efforts, which conform to the current ethics of conservation and scientific and scholarly demands.
A permanent exhibition of the Museum für Islamische Kunst, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin.
This exhibition is made possible by the support of Alwaleed Philantrophies.
Address / Getting there
partially wheelchair accessible
Please note: Pergamonmuseum is exclusively entered through James-Simon-Galerie!
Site plan: Entrance to the Pergamonmuseum and Neues Museum (PDF)
All groups meet at the information desk at the upper foyer in James-Simon-Galerie, entering by using the big stairway.
Advice for group visits to the Pergamonmuseum an the Neues Museum (PDF)
Due to a technical issue, the lift is out of service until further notice, meaning the Museum für Islamische Kunst is not currently wheelchair accessible. The major architectural exhibits – such as the Processional Way, featuring the Ishtar Gate and the Market Gate of Miletus – are still accessible to people with mobility issues.
U-Bahn: Museumsinsel (U5)
S-Bahn: Friedrichstraße, Hackescher Markt
Tram: Am Kupfergraben, Hackescher Markt
Bus: Staatsoper, Lustgarten, Friedrichstraße
Low-carbon public transport connections
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