You are here

You are here

  • Exhibition opening of The Aga Khan Museum Collection at the State Hermitage Museum, Saint-Petersburg, Russia. Exhibit entitled Architecture in Islamic Arts, Treasures of the Aga Khan Museum, shown from November 2011 until February 2012.
    AKDN / Mikhail Romanyuk
"Treasures of the Aga Khan Museum: Architecture in Islamic Arts" at The Hermitage, St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg, 7 December 2011 -- Following eight different exhibitions in Europe that attracted over half a million visitors, a new selection of masterpieces from the Aga Khan Museum collections are on show at the Hermitage, St. Petersburg, from 9 December 2011 to 26 February 2012.

The exhibition is the first created from the Aga Khan Museum collections to centre on architecture in the Islamic World. The exhibition, sponsored by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC), has been organised in close cooperation with the Hermitage.

An agreement was signed spelling out future collaboration between The Hermitage and the Aga Khan Museum in areas of mutual interest such as conservation, exchange of technical expertise and exhibitions.

The exhibition is divided into six sections: “Sacred Typographies”, which explores the sites and monuments of Islamic pilgrimage through paintings and drawings; “Religious and Funerary Architecture”, which examines mosques and commemorative shrines; “The Fortress and the City”, which encompasses forts and fortified towns; “The Palace”, which looks at the residences of royal families; “Gardens, Pavilions and Tents”, which discusses the arts of shelter; and “Architecture and the Written Word”, which focuses on architectural spaces contained in miniature painting.

The catalogue contains essays on these themes by Nasser Rabbat, David J. Roxburgh, Kishwar Rizvi, Renata Holod, Sussan Barbaie, James L. Wescoat, jr. and Margaret S. Graves.

Among the highlights of the exhibition are: a miniature entitled “Emperor Jahnagir at the Jharoka Window of the Red Fort in Agra”, painted in 1620 by Nadir a-Zaman, and a folio from the most famous series of paintings in Muslim art, the celebrated Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp; architectural elements like muqarnas and ornamented wood pieces from fifteenth century Spain as well as glazed turquoise earthenware elements from Central Asia; tiled arches from fifteenth century Egypt and ornamental doors from ninth century Iran; sixteenth century Iznik tiles from Turkey and other objects including inkwells, a carpet and a lamp holder.

When it concludes its run at the Hermitage, the “Architecture in Islamic Arts” exhibition will move to the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur, and the Asian Civilisations Museum in Singapore.

The masterpieces in the exhibition are part of the collections of the Aga Khan Museum, which is currently under construction and due to open in 2013 in Toronto, Canada. As the first major educational and exhibition centre in North America dedicated to Muslim arts and culture, the Museum’s mission is to inform, educate, and inspire audiences from all cultures by presenting art created in the Islamic world throughout the past fourteen centuries, along with current paths of artistic practice and cultural development.

The Museum collection contains over one thousand artworks spanning over a millennium of history. The objects – in ceramic, metalwork, ivory, stone and wood, textile and carpet, glass and rock crystal, as well as manuscripts and miniature paintings on parchment and on paper – present an overview of the artistic accomplishments of Muslim civilisations from the Iberian Peninsula to China.

The Aga Khan Trust for Culture is the cultural agency of the Aga Khan Development Network. Through education and cultural initiatives in music and the arts, AKTC aims to highlight the contributions of the Muslim world to global cultural heritage. It also implements programmes aimed at the physical and social revitalisation of communities with the aim of improving the quality of life and, through its architectural programmes, promotes debate about contemporary design problems.

For more information, please contact:

Sam Pickens
Aga Khan Development Network
Mail: P.O. Box 2369, 1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland
Address: 1-3 Avenue de la Paix, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland
Telephone: +41 22 909 72 00
Facsimile: +41 22 909 72 91