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A detailed painting depicting a variety of animals gathered together from the Aga Khan Museum collections. Prominently featured is an elephant in the center, surrounded by various species including deer, antelope, camels, buffalo, a white horse, rabbits, big cats like lions and leopards, and other creatures. The animals appear to be in a structured setting with intricate, colorful decorations and human figures in the background, indicating a scene of importance or ceremony.

Museum Collections Themed Installation: Life on Land

July 8–December, 2024

Museum Collections Gallery


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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.


Parts of the gallery are refreshed twice a year with themed installations that explore special topics and allow light-sensitive materials to rest.

Life on Land

July 8–December, 2024 

A flourishing life on land is the foundation for our life on this planet.”​
– The Global Goals

Explore a selection of paintings and objects from the Museum Collections, highlighting how animals and natural environments have been celebrated in Islamic art and literature. As part of the Aga Khan Museum’s ongoing commitment to exploring the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through art and culture, Life on Land focuses on goals related to the Global Goal 15, which aims to start a conversation about protecting, restoring, and promoting sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems.

This themed installation in the Museum Collections Gallery examines how the study of life on land has driven scientific advancement and how human activities have impacted wildlife, underscoring the importance of protecting these ecosystems. Browse through artworks that depict the mutual relationship between humans and animals, the role of domestication in shaping civilizations, and the historical and current impact of natural disasters on biodiversity and human communities.

Shah Ramin, fighting a hog-headed ghoul (detail), Turkey, 1593–1594, AKM280.14

Within the themed installation, Life on Land explores the symbolic importance of animals in literature and mythology, featuring captivating depictions of mythical creatures and fantastical beings from the Muslim world. Through these intriguing artworks, the highlighted objects within the Museum Collections promote awareness and respect for nature and life on Earth.