Islamic Art in the heart of Jerusalem


The Museum of Islamic Art in downtown Jerusalem was opened in 1974.  It is divided into two sections, the first a compendium of religious works and the Muslim world’s contributions to science, astronomy, medicine, and cultural riches.  The second part of the museum is historical from prehistoric times through the various civilizations of the Near East to Ottoman and Mughal art.  For those of you in my classes this semester you will recognize some of the symbols, styles, and media of Islamic art both ancient and more contemporary.  And for all, notice how this museum attempts to give context to works of art many of which are out of their normal environment.

Items for mosques from around the world.  In the center is a tiled Mirhab, prayer rugs on either side, and a lamp hanging from above.
Items for mosques from around the world. In the center is a tiled Mirhab, prayer rugs on either side, and a lamp hanging from above.
Umayyad architectural elements from palaces found mostly in Syria, Jordan, and Israel.  These come from a palace excavated near Jericho.
Umayyad architectural elements from palaces found mostly in Syria, Jordan, and Israel. These come from a palace excavated near Jericho.
My favorite piece, Quibla clock that tells one which direction to face for Mecca. This one comes from Istanbul and is dated 18th century.
My favorite piece, Quibla clock that tells one which direction to face for Mecca. This one comes from Istanbul and is dated 18th century.
Quran case from 19th century Yemen, small Qurans, and an amulet case from 16th century Iran
Quran case from 19th century Yemen, small Qurans, and an amulet case from 16th century Iran
Amulet case from Central Asia (19th century) and a small Quran case with an image of a mosque from Turkey, 19th century
Amulet case from Central Asia (19th century) and a small Quran case with an image of a mosque from Turkey, 19th century
Calligraphic pages from Iran and Turkey, 18th or 19th century
Calligraphy from Iran and Turkey, 18th or 19th century
Writing tools, 18th century Turkey including a pen holder, ink well, tiny ruler and spoon made from ivory
Writing tools, 18th century Turkey including a pen holder, ink well, tiny ruler and spoon made from ivory
Development of science and technology based on the earlier Hellenistic achievements these are glass measuring cups from the 10th century and a tooth extractor from the 17th century Iran
Development of science and technology based on the earlier Hellenistic achievements these are glass measuring cups from the 10th century and a tooth extractor from the 17th century Iran
A medicinal manuscript
A medicinal manuscript

 

 

Musical instruments from throughout the Islamic world (Morocco to Spain) and then introduced throughout Europe.  Notice the small video in the corner showing some of the instruments being played.
Musical instruments from throughout the Islamic world (Morocco to Spain) and then introduced throughout Europe. Notice the small video in the corner showing some of the instruments being played.
Chess pieces: chess has been played in the Near East for over 1000 years.  It evolved in India and reached Europe in the 7th century.
Chess pieces: chess has been played in the Near East for over 1000 years. It evolved in India and reached Europe in the 7th century.
Detail of chess pieces
Detail of chess pieces
Astrolabe (to identify East), brass and steel compasses from Iran, 12th century
Astrolabe (to identify East), brass and steel compasses from Iran, 12th century
Ceramics of the Samanid dynasty, 9th-10th century were unique in using Kufic (ornamented Quran script) as decorations around the edges.
Ceramics of the Samanid dynasty, 9th-10th century were unique in using Kufic (ornamented Quran script) as decorations around the edges.
Rectangular box from Fatimid period.  Those of you in Art 1A will be seeing a number of boxes of this type from Europe in the next couple of weeks.  It is ivory, painted with drawings from Sicily, 12th century.
Rectangular box from Fatimid period. Those of you in Art 1A will be seeing a number of boxes of this type from Europe in the next couple of weeks. It is ivory, painted with drawings from Sicily, 12th century.
This was my other favorite piece, a running rabbit figure with long ears and a pig's face, Egypt, bronze from 11th century
This was my other favorite piece, a running rabbit figure with long ears and a pig’s face, Egypt, bronze from 11th century
Sorry for the greenish cast but you can still see the beautiful elaborate decoration on this dish.  It is from Iran, early 14th century.
Sorry for the greenish cast but you can still see the beautiful elaborate decoration on this dish. It is from Iran, early 14th century.
Notice the mongol influence in the faces depicted in this work.
Notice the mongol influence in the faces depicted in this work.
19th century Yemenite jewelry: slier, filigree and granulation, coral and amber beads.
19th century Yemenite jewelry: slier, filigree and granulation, coral and amber beads.
Photograph posted next to the jewelry case showing a bride splendidly adorned.
Photograph posted next to the jewelry case showing a bride splendidly adorned.
Manuscript telling the story of the Queen of Sheba from Iran, mid 19th century
Manuscript telling the story of the Queen of Sheba from Iran, mid 19th century
Odd set of porcelain figures: sultans, moors, and   dressed in European clothing from 18th century
Odd set of porcelain figures: sultans, moors,  dressed in European clothing from 18th century- not sure of the story
Painted ostrich egg
Painted ostrich egg
Painted and lacquered ostrich egg
Painted and lacquered ostrich egg
18th century hookah
18th century hookah
Ewer and pitcher from India 18th-19th century
Ewer and pitcher from India 18th-19th century
Chest for writing utensils 11th century decorated with hunting scenes.
Chest for writing utensils 11th century decorated with hunting scenes.

One thought on “Islamic Art in the heart of Jerusalem

  1. Hi Mina, just wanted to say thanks for sharing this wonderful artwork with all of us. I have taken both of your classes 1A and !B a couple of semesters ago. You shared a trip to Europe and Isreal then too. It is all fascinating especially now that I can recognize some of the time periods of the works. Kelly Alaniz

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