The Museum Collections Gallery of the Aga Khan Museum is dedicated to showcasing the artistic achievements and lasting legacies of Muslim civilizations between the 9th and 19th centuries, from as far afield as Spain in the west and China in the east, as well as the interventions by contemporary artists that spark dialogue between the past and present.
In the Collections Gallery, visitors will enjoy a rotating display of nearly 200 objects from the Museum’s Permanent Collection, masterpieces reflecting a broad range of artistic styles and representing more than ten centuries of human history. Including such works of art as manuscripts, paintings, ceramics, glass, and textiles, the Collections Gallery provides an overview of the artistic, intellectual, and scientific contributions of Muslim civilizations to world history and heritage.
Parts of the Gallery are refreshed twice a year with Themed Installations that explore special topics and allow light-sensitive materials to rest.
Inside/Outside, October 2023 to March 2024
Reflect on the visible and invisible aspects of experience that shape our perspectives of the world in the Aga Khan Museum's new Themed Installation, Inside/Outside.
Inside/Outside showcases masterpieces from the Museum's Collections and on loan, which explore historical ideas and experiences surrounding the many meanings of being inside or outside — from a mesmerizing robe made of paper mâché to newspaper publications from the late 19th to early 20th centuries in Iran.
Have you ever felt like an “outsider” or an “insider” in a place or group?
The terms "inside" and "outside" hold many meanings depending on social, cultural, and individual values and experiences. They can define physical boundaries, such as the living spaces of a building or geographical and political borders between regions. They can also carry social and cultural connotations — evoking either a sense of belonging or a feeling of exclusion from a community group.
Look for this symbol on object labels
Explore the many notions of being inside or outside through a selection of masterpieces, such as:
Tile with a Star-Shaped Opening, Syria, late 12th–early 13th century. AKM702 © Aga Khan Museum
A Syrian fritware tile from the late 12th to early 13th century that would have been used on the upper part of a dome, ceiling, or wall to let the light in and connect the inside and outside areas of a building.
Shirin Visits Farhad on Mount Bistun, Painted by Ghiyath Mudhahhib, Shiraz, Iran, 1526. AKM270.f81r © Aga Khan Museum
A manuscript of the story of Farhad and Shirin — lovers from different socioeconomic backgrounds and the subjects of a story told by 12th-century Persian poet Nizami. In this manuscript that speaks to the social notion of living outside of a community group, Farhad, a sculptor with a low social rank, is set on the impossible task of carving a road in the rocks of Mount Bisutun after the Sasanian king grew jealous of their love.
* Objects below will be featured in the Themed Installation.
Click here to browse the collections.