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article imageIslamic Art from the Aga Khan Collection in Berlin Special

By Riccardo Valsecchi     Apr 6, 2010 in Entertainment
More than 200 masterpieces from the collection of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, documenting 1,000 years of cultural history, are exposed in the Berlin's Martin-Gropius-Bau Museum.
For the first time, the Aga Khan's collection has been exhibited in Germany.
Karim Aga Khan IV is the spiritual head of the Ismaili Muslims. The Aga Khan is a descendant of Prophet Muhammad through his cousin and son-in-law, Ali, the first Imam, and his wife Fatima, Prophet Muhammad’s daughter. He is referred to by members of his community as Mawlana Hazar Imam, Present Imam.
The artworks on display - paintings, drawings, book illustrations, manuscripts, inscriptions, metalwork vessels, ceramics, and wood carvings - make one realize the extraordinary variety and overwhelming richness of an Islamic culture, which from the 8th to the 18th centuries stretched from the Maghreb and the Iberian Peninsula all the way to China.
Aga Khan s collection for the first time in Berlin - Martin-Gropius-Bau Museum
Aga Khan's collection for the first time in Berlin - Martin-Gropius-Bau Museum
Many electronic screens are arranged inside the rooms, in order to have the possibility to consult the wonderful books on display. An old woman is showing to his nephew the story of "Haftvad and the worm" from the book "Shahnameh", the national epic of the Persian-speaking world. Anne, this is her name, is not a woman whom you could usually meet in a museum where Muslim Art is exposed. She is Jewish.
Aga Khan s collection for the first time in Berlin - Martin-Gropius-Bau Museum
Aga Khan's collection for the first time in Berlin - Martin-Gropius-Bau Museum
"Sixty-five years ago, just few meters from here, where now there are the ruins of the Anhalter Bahnhof, I lost many relatives due to the ignorance of people who preferred to judge than to understand our culture. I don't want that my nephew might commit the same mistake. Look at these images: do you think that a cruel culture would have done so fine and marvelous masterpieces?"
Aga Khan s collection for the first time in Berlin - Martin-Gropius-Bau Museum
Aga Khan's collection for the first time in Berlin - Martin-Gropius-Bau Museum
The exhibition is host in Berlin until the July 6. The complete collection will be shown in the new Aga Khan Museum in Toronto until 2013.
More about Aga khan, Muslim, Islam, Art, Muhammad
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