The Islamic Arts Museum in Malaysia is a must-visit for the culturally indulgent, as it is the largest Southeast Asian museum of Islamic arts. It boasts a spectacular collection of over 7,000 artifacts and relics celebrating the marvels that emerged from the Islamic world.
museum has surpassed expectations in curating a collection that is
representative of the entire Islamic world. Its gallery sections house
works that represent their geographical origins from India, China and
Malay, illustrating the multi-cultural diversity of Malaysia.
formal institutional and architectural rigidities are shunned through
its wide, open and airy floors, which rule the design mandate of the
museum site spread over 30,000 square meters. It opens onto a white
marble courtyard reminiscent of Mughal architecture – of which the Taj
Mahal in India is a famous example.
The open space design scheme
continued and maintained throughout the gallery lends a fresh,
contemporary vibe to the museum and is a unique combination of modern
design and traditional Iranian and Central architecture, with
magnificent turquoise-colored domes dominating Kuala Lumpur’s city
The museum has galleries dedicated to precious items and
articles according to themes, region and chronology: Arms and armor,
ceramics, wood works, textiles, architecture, Qur’an and manuscripts,
jewelry, India, China and Malay world, and coins and seal galleries
which occupy two floors. An additional two floors are dedicated to
hosting temporary exhibitions.
The India Gallery provides a unique
and unprecedented look inside the private and social lives of Mughals.
Their dynasty was established in 1526 and their reign influenced the
social, religious, and political landscape of India, bringing Islamic
architecture, art, and music into the fabric of the subcontinent.
court portraitures of princes and princesses, bejeweled furniture and
personal grooming articles, decorative ceramics, metal works, arms and
armor provide a stunning look into the life of the Mughal royals and
their domestic way of life.
The opulence of Indian jewelry replete
with diamonds, rubies, emeralds, pearls, and semi-precious stones; and
other trinkets from Central Asia, provide a glimpse into fashion trends
prevailing in the tribal and royal circles from the Islamic world.
Qur’an copies and manuscripts dating back as far as the 14th century
and books, scripts and treatises in medicine, mathematics, astronomy and
philosophy that added to the academic development of the Islamic world
from Kashmir, Persia, Syria, Turkey and Morocco can be found on display.
Southeast Asian gallery reflects the grand expertise of the artists of
the period from 16-18th century through their calligraphy heavy
Qur’anic art that also drew influence from traditional Chinese writing
The largest scale model in the world of the Holy Mosque of
Makkah can be found here, including the recreation of the interiors of
mausoleums of Timur and Amir Albukhari and the understated mosques in
China and Southeast Asia.
The arms and armor gallery display two
major categories of weaponry: firearms and edged weapons. Blades,
barrels, swords, daggers, axes, maces and spears show a very high
artistic dimension to the art of war through their jeweled beauty and
intricate design forms, and mechanical effectiveness through ingenious
workmanship used in battle during the reign of the Muslim empire
stretching from Asia to Europe.
One can find a very exciting
extension to the museum apart from the gallery and exhibits on display.
This includes a museum restaurant that predominantly serves Middle
Eastern cuisine. The restaurant décor runs in parallel to the
understated architecture of the museum. The vibe is resplendent with
Arabian and Persian elements and decorative motifs and opens onto a
soothing Fountain Garden Courtyard outside.
Located on the ground
floor is the Museum Shop that offers a unique selection of books,
trinkets, postcards, souvenirs, apparel, paintings and other decorative
items that are worth a buy. The store is a treasure-trove of exotic
finds that is underlined with the theme of promoting Islamic art, from
Southeast Asian woodwork for home decoration, to intricate
middle-eastern jewelry, and books and writing diaries for the more
lit-indulgent. A variety of products exclusively developed by the
Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia are also available.
The museum also
boasts a view terrace, a fountain garden, special galleries, an
auditorium, a children’s library, and a scholar’s library, which can be
accessed through appointment.
Until Nov. 20 the exhibition Al Haj: The Malaysian Experience,
gives an overview of the key rites and necessary knowledge of the holy
pilgrimage in an educational manner to equip aspiring pilgrims to
undertake this once-in-a-lifetime experience. This is also to encourage
the younger generation to undertake the pilgrimage.