Museum of Islamic Art
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Museum of Islamic Art information
Lonely Planet review
Rising from its own purpose-built island and set in an extensive landscape of lawns and ornamental trees, this is a monument of a museum. It was designed by the renowned architect IM Pei (architect of the Louvre pyramid) and is shaped like a postmodern fortress with minimal windows (to cut down on energy use) and a ‘virtual’ moat.
The museum houses the largest collection of Islamic art in the world, collected from three continents. Exquisite textiles, ceramics, enamel work and glass are showcased conceptually: a single motif, for example, is illustrated in the weave of a carpet, in a ceramic floor tile or adapted in a piece of gold jewellery in neighbouring display cases allowing visitors to gain a sense of the homogeneity of Islamic art.
This is the kind of museum that is so rich in treasure that it rewards short, intense visits. Pace yourself by visiting the cafe downstairs or punctuate your visit with a browse in the extensive museum shop to avoid sensory overload. Avoid strappy tops and shorts or you may be refused admission.