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Academic Resources

AGA KHAN MUSEUM COLLECTIONS

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3D Gallery Tours
  1. Permanent Collections
  2. Bellerive Room
Short Videos on Collection Objects

Dr. Steven Zucker, with Aga Khan Museum curators Dr. Filiz Çakir Phillip and Dr. Michael Chagnon on ‘The Court of Gayumars’ from the Shahnameh of Shah Tahmasp, ca. 1524-25 (Aga Khan Museum AKM165). More information can be obtained by visiting smarthistory.org

Dr. Lisa Golombek (Islamic Art Specialist) and Dr. Robert Mason (Archaeological Scientist) delve into the history of two Safavid glazed tiles from the collection of the Aga Khan Museum (AKM590), discussing how their research lead to identifying the spandrel frieze that these tiles once belonged to. The conversation is moderated by Assistant Curator Bita Pourvash.

Museum Curator Dr. Filiz Çakır Phillip weighs in on two blue and white pharmaceutical jars from 15th-century Syria (AKM567 and AKM568). Known as albarelli, jars like these ones were prized for their aesthetic beauty and were widely traded.

Museum Curator Dr. Filiz Çakır Phillip weighs in on two blue and white pharmaceutical jars from 15th-century Syria (AKM567 and AKM568). Known as albarelli, jars like these ones were prized for their aesthetic beauty and were widely traded.

Discover the story behind the first contemporary artwork acquisitioned by the Aga Khan Museum, “Your Way Begins on the Other Side” by Aisha Khalid (2015.1.1). Dr. Filiz Çakır Phillip delves into the concept of the tapestry, inspired by the Iranian garden, and the symbolic meaning of its rich patterns.

Artworks can speak for interwoven connections between cultures. Materials and techniques used by artists offer multi-faceted intercultural stories. In this Curator’s Conversation about a Safavid dish (AKM588) with Dr. Filiz Çakır Phillip, you will encounter the fascinating adventure of the exotic pigment cobalt blue, and the meaning of the lotus as it signifies purity and harmony in Buddhist tradition.

Assistant Curator Bita Pourvash on a 17th-century Safavid dish depicting an idealized portrait of a woman.

Curator Dr. Marika Sardar on a Mughal portrait of Shah Jahan (Aga Khan Museum AKM124), in conversation with Dr. Filiz Çakir Philip (curator and arms and armor specialist) and Tazeen Qayyum (artist).

Curator Dr. Marika Sardar on a portrait of a Sir Henry Fane, British officer in India (Aga Khan Museum AKM472), and dealing with images of problematic historical figures.

Curator Dr. Marika Sardar on a 15th century Chinese ewer that belonged to Shah Jahan (Aga Khan Museum AKM966), in conversation with Dr. Katherine Anne Paul (specialist on Asian ceramics).

Curator Dr. Marika Sardar on a Mughal copy of the Akhlaq-i Nasiri (Aga Khan Museum AKM288), with a focus on the painting of Mughal book workshop.

Curator Dr. Michael Chagnon on a 17th-century Persian drawing of a seated artist (AKM192), addressing concepts of image making.

Virtual Curatorial Sessions

To book a virtual curatorial session, please contact [email protected]

Our specialists:
  • Dr. Filiz Çakir Philip, Curator, specialist in Islamic art; arts of the book; arms and armour
  • Dr. Michael Chagnon, Curator, specialist in Persian painting and arts of the book
  • Dr. Marika Sardar, Curator, specialist in South Asian art
  • Bita Pourvash, Assistant Curator, specialist in Islamic art

Resources for Special Topics in Islamic Art:

General Publications (PDFs):
Architecture in Islamic Arts
Publication (PDF): Selected AKM objects from this exhibition:
Arts of the Book & Calligraphy
Publication (PDF): Selected AKM objects from this exhibition:
Arts of the East: Highlights of Islamic Art from the Bruschettini Collection
Publication: Arts of the East: Highlights of Islamic Art from the Bruschettini Collection

Installation video

Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time: Art, Culture, and Exchange Across Medieval Saharan Africa
Publication: Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time: Art, Culture, and Exchange across Medieval Saharan Africa

3D exhibition tour: View 3D Tour

Selected AKM objects from this exhibition: Lectures:
  • Curator Dr. Kathleen Bickford Berzock from Northwestern’s Block Museum of Art introduces the exhibition Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time: View Lecture
  • Dr. Mariam Rosser-Owen, Curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum, explores the cross-cultural relationships that produced some of the most beautiful objects of the medieval period: View Lecture
  • Examining some of the masterworks from the exhibition Caravans of Gold, Aga Khan Museum Curator Dr. Michael Chagnon discusses the interconnected world of the medieval era and the powerful role of western Africa within it: View Lecture
  • Dr. Augustus Casely-Hayford, Director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, draws on the rich material heritage on display in the exhibition Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time to reveal how art has carved out history and empires: View Lecture
Emperors and Jewels: Treasures from the Indian Court, from the Al-Sabah Collection, Kuwait

3-D exhibition tour: View 3D Tour

Selected AKM objects from this exhibition: Lectures:
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Dr. Navina Najat Haidar explores the dynamic history of India’s seventeenth-century Mughal age and its culture of jewels. View Lecture
Enchanted Lines: Drawings from the Aga Khan Museum Collection
Publication: Enchanted Lines: Drawings from the Aga Khan Museum Collection

Selected AKM objects from this exhibition:
The Moon: A Voyage through Time
Publication: The Moon: A Voyage Through Time Edited by Christiane Gruber

3-D exhibition tour: View 3D Tour

Selected AKM objects from this exhibition: Lectures:
  • Discover the many meanings of the moon within Islamic art and culture with Dr. Christiane Gruber, exhibition co-curator. View Lecture
  • Astronomer and public speaker Dr. Jamil A. Shariff discusses how the moon has benefitted the development and continued existence of life on planet Earth. View Lecture
  • Artist and scholar Bettina Forget delivers a talk bridging art, space science, and the timely topic of women’s representation. View Lecture
Syria: A Living History
Publication (PDF): Syria: A Living History

Selected AKM objects from this exhibition: Lecture Series
  • Browse Lecture Series; Syria - A Living History View Lecture
The World of the Fatimids
Publication (PDF): The World of the Fatimids Catologue

3-D Exhibition Tour: View 3D Tour

Selected AKM objects from this exhibition: Lectures:
  • Dr. Farhad Daftary on the spiritual foundations of the Fatimids. View Lecture
  • Dr. Ulrike Al-Khamis, Director of Collections and Public Programs at the Aga Khan Museum, offers insights into the origins, aspirations, and cultural achievements of the Fatimid dynasty. View Lecture
A Guide to Shahnameh (Book of Kings) Folios in the Aga Khan Museum
This resource is in development. For now, please browse folios from the collection organized by period of production.

14th Century:
  • For folios from the First “Small” Shahnameh, Second “Small” Shahnameh, Freer Shahnameh, The “Inju” Shahnameh of 1341 and other manuscripts Click here.
15th Century:
  • For folios from the “Big Head” Shahnameh and other manuscripts Click here
16th Century:
  • For folios from the “Shah Isma‘il II” Shahnameh, Shah Tahmasp Shahnameh and other manuscripts Click here
17th Century:
  • For folios signed or attributed to Mu‘in Musavvir and from other manuscripts Click here

Other Aga Khan Trust for Culture Resources:

Aga Khan Award for Architecture

Aga Khan Historic Cities Programme

Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture

Aga Khan Music Initiative

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