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.
Water, January to September, 2023
Wade through artistic currents as you explore the Aga Khan Museum's new Themed Installation, Water.
Water features masterpieces from the Museum Collection that explore the importance of this life-giving source by examining its applications and representations in Muslim art and literature – from intricate ceramics and paintings to architectural elements and metalwork.
From the transfer of goods and exchange of ideas to human migration and cross-cultural connection, water has always linked human societies with their environments. As a source of life and inspiration, it has flowed into the world of art and creation, becoming an integral part of every step of the process as well as reflecting the many symbolic meanings of this essential element.
Water nourishes ecosystems and civilizations, but over time, its overuse, pollution, and mismanagement have put several water systems around the world under stress, making water scarcity a significant challenge. This rotation invites you to reflect on the significance of water and the measures pertinent to maintaining a healthy environment for future generations.
Within the Water installation, you will find Water in Focus: Youth on Sustainability — a display of photographs from an exhibition titled Our Sustainable Future: Student Photography Exhibition. The photographs on display were captured by seven newcomer youth from the Museum's surrounding communities who were invited to participate in a workshop run by award-winning photographer Fredric Roberts in 2019. Each image focuses on goals concerned with clean water and sanitation, climate action, and life below water. These young photographers visually explore the challenges of meeting these goals and offer a glimpse into a generation’s hopes and perspectives.
The Bellerive Room is our homage to Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan (1933-2003) and his widow, Princess Catherine Aga Khan, whose collection of Islamic art forms the core of the Aga Khan Museum’s holdings. The room is a recreation of the “La Chambre Persane,” or “Persian Salon,” in their home, Chateau de Bellerive in Geneva, Switzerland, where part of the collection was originally on display.
The room features ceramics representing the breadth and depth of production from the Islamic world. While many of the items here were originally used on a daily basis, they are presented here for their beauty and the high level of craftsmanship that went into making them.
The Bellerive Room is free for visitors to enjoy during Museum hours and is available for private functions and other events.
La Chambre Persane. Photograph courtesy of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture.
* Objects below will be featured in the Themed Installation.
Click here to browse the collections.