Arts of Islamic Cultures

The MFA’s Arts of Islamic Cultures Gallery is designed to expand how visitors see and understand the diverse arts of Islamic cultures. Its thematic installation—developed through an intensive eight-year process of engagement with Muslim, artistic, and scholarly communities—is divided into distinct spaces that reflect the richness of these artistic traditions. Some sections explore art forms that are integral to all Islamic cultures, like Arabic calligraphy, while others focus on unique visual traditions such as that of Ottoman Turkey or Mughal India. Still other sections delve deeply into the history of singular objects in the collection, for example a remarkable door assembled from fragments of medieval Egyptian woodwork for the first American World’s Fair.

The MFA’s collection of Islamic art encompasses works from countries of the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia, as well as works created across the globe within Muslim communities or societies. The collection was established in 1870, the year the MFA was founded, and has grown to become one of the most important in the US.

Visitors to the gallery can see a video interview with artist Wasma’a Chorbachi discussing her calligraphic ceramic work, The Profession of Faith (Al Shahada). They are also able to listen to audio recordings of Qur’an recitation, created in partnership with local imams, who are among many local partners who contributed to the creation of this gallery.

  • Arts of Islamic Cultures Gallery (Gallery 175)

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Supported by a bequest from Dr. Marion E. James.