After the Gayer-Anderson Museum, we visited Cairo‘s Museum of Islamic Art, “considered one of the greatest in the world, with its exceptional collection of rare woodwork and plaster artefacts (sic), as well as metal, ceramic, glass, crystal, and textile objects of all periods, from all over the Islamic world.” As expected, the Islamic art focused on geometric and vegetal patterns and Arabic calligraphy.
The museum reopened in January 2017 after “a car bomb attack targeting the Cairo police headquarters on the other side of the street caused considerable damage to the museum and destroyed many artifacts” three years before. We noticed that the police headquarters has a curved blast wall that directs any blast away from the police building and toward the museum.
Inside, there were few visitors on a weekday afternoon, and the museum was excellent.
This post is organized by media type. You’ll see Islamic-art patterns and calligraphy across the media.
A wooden ceiling with mocárabe (complex array of vertical prisms resembling stalactites) and patterns.
This 10th C wooden door from Egypt has geometric patterns of ivory, ebony, and bone.
This candlestick was made for the Mosque of the Prophet Mohammed in Medina as part of its reconstruction after a fire. This reconstruction was funded by the Mamluk sultan Qaitbay. Born near the Black Sea and sold into slavery in Egypt, Qaitbay was freed, and he ruled Egypt for 26 years.
This 15th C astrolabe is used to determine latitude, needed for navigation and to determine the direction of Mecca when building a mosque.
The opening photo shows 16th C ceramic tiles from Iznik, Turkey. The tiles are decorated with vines and lotus flowers.
This glazed mihrab from 14th C Iran has vegetal patterns and calligraphy.
This fountain has varying geometric patterns of stone radiating from the center.
Many Arab countries are renowned for their carpets. This 18th C wool and cotton carpet from Iran has patterns of vines and flowers.
Cairo’s Museum of Islamic Art has excellent displays of Islamic Art, showing patterns and calligraphy across many media types.