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Museum Of Islamic Art Doha

Museum of Islamic Art is a unique architect designed by I.M. Pei showing simplicity in desigin with elegance and a purpose. the Qatar Museum of Islamic art was opened in 2008 and is regarded as one of the most latest and complete museum of Islamic art & architecture.

Doha Mueum is first of its kind in the Persian Gulf, houing a a very large collection of Islamic art, plus a study and a library. The museum has a total area of 45,000 m2 and lies on the edge of Doha harbour at the south end of Doha Bay.

The museum houses a collection of works gathered since the late 1980s, including manuscripts, textiles and ceramics. It is one of the world’s most complete collections of Islamic artifacts, with items originating in Spain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, India, and Central Asia.[5] At the age of 91, Pei had to be coaxed out of retirement to undertake this enterprise. He traveled throughout the Muslim world on a six month quest to learn about Muslim architecture and history and read Muslim texts to draw inspiration for his design.

Declining all proposed sites for the museum, Pei suggested a stand-alone island for the structure in order to avoid the encroachment on other buildings. Thus it was built on 64 acres (260,000 m2) on an island approximate 195 feet (59 m) off Doha’s Corniche and surrounded by a park


The Museum of Islamic Art is located on the Corniche which surrounds Doha Harbor and is approximately 15 minutes from Doha International Airport. It is close proximity to the ministry of foreign affair and ministry of finance and with walking distance to Souq Waqif , it is adjacent to the Dhow harbour of Doha port.

Transport is primarily by private car or taxi. If using the public bus network use route 76 which will run along the corniche and stop just outside the museum gate.

A car park to accommodate over 400 vehicles is located on site and free of charge.

Guided tours

A number of tours will be available within the museum to cater for school visits, families and adults.


Family tours are accessible on the MIA multi-media guides. This tour includes around 25 stops and offers an interactive experience for children and their families. These guides are available to all MIA visitors. Visually impaired multi-media guides are available on request.


Adult tours are accessible on the multi-media guides. There are approximately 100 stops on a tour that includes the most significant objects in the Doha collection. These guides are available to all MIA visitors. Visually impaired multi-media guides are available on request.


Schools are welcome to come and discover the wonderful world of Islamic art. With the help of resources adapted to all age groups, students and teachers will have an opportunity to learn about different cultures, art forms and history involved with the Islamic world. If you are interested in organising a visit by your school, please fill in the form attached here and email it to form must be filled in by a member of staff from your school. A member of the MIA Education Department will contact you within 24hrs of the request being received.


A strong vision has been the driving force in putting together the Doha collection, seeking the best with the ideas of ‘masterpieces’ in mind. Although in some cases the pieces, as “masterpieces”, are unanimously agreed upon as such, in the case of the Doha Collection the vision embraces masterpieces as artistic expressions also made special with their touch of particularity – artefacts with the touch of the unusual. Comprised of several thousand pieces from the seventh century to the present day, the collection is less concerned with quantity as much as it is concerned with the formidable.

The museum’s collection is mapped to offer a narrative that is tailored to a modern audience, offering visitors to the museum the experience of a journey through time, across cultures, religions and eras.

Iran or Central Asia (Nishapur or Samarqand)
10th century
Earthenware, with decoration in black on white slip
Diameter: 42.5 cm
Epigraphic wares are examples of an aesthetic interest in calligraphy for both its decorative and expressive qualities. The use of calligraphy gave a social and literary interest to the dishes, usually consisting of aphorisms in Arabic and sayings attributed to the Prophet and his successors.

Turkey (Iznik)
c. 1570 –75
Fritware, with underglaze painting
Diameter: 26.3 cm
PO.49.1999 The brilliant palette of this dish dates it to the second half of the 16th century, when potters introduced the raised-red pigment for which Iznik became famous. The naturalistic floral design is also characteristic of the time, demonstrating the Ottoman passion for flowers and gardens.


Iraq (probably Basra)
9th century
Earthenware, white glaze with painting in blue
Diameter: 20.5 cm
PO.31.1999 From the late 8th century, Chinese porcelains were imported into the Middle East where they were traded as highly luxurious goods. Potters in Iraq soon began to develop imitations of these highly priced porcelains, using earthenware with an opaque white glaze.

Mosque Lamp
Egypt (Cairo)
1347-1361 AD
Glass, vitreous enamel, gilding
Height: 27.5 cm, maximum diameter: 18.6 cm
GL.321.2000 Made during the Mamluk period in Egypt and Syria, blown, enameled and gilded glass oil lamps were suspended from the ceiling to illuminate buildings. Large quantities were produced in Cairo in the fourteenth century to decorate mosques and tombs.

Syria (probably Damascus)
Late 13th or 14th century
Fritware, with decoration in blue, black and red glaze
Height: 36.5 cm
PO.40.1999 This jar was most likely was used to contain pharmaceuticals; an inscription around the shoulder states that the piece was made for the 'hospital of Nuri', in reference to the famous hospital in Damascus founded in the 12th century by Nur al-Din Mahmud ibn Zangi.

'The Cavour Vase'
Probably Syria
Late 13th century
Glass, decorated with vitreous enamel and gilding
Height: 29 cm, diameter: 19.7 cm
GL.6.1998 Less than twenty intact enameled cobalt blue or dark purple glass objects from the Ayyubid and Mamluk dynasties exist. This is one of the premier surviving pieces, particularly as there are so few 'secular' glass objects remaining; most surviving pieces are mosque lamps.

Quran leaf
Sura al-Baqara, 2, vv. 34–41
North Africa
10th century
Gold ink on blue parchment
Length: 28 cm, width: 38 cm
MS.8.2006 This is one of the most unique Qur'ans produced in the Islamic world. The lavishly decorated folios with letters in gold against a rich blue background signify the importance of this manuscript, and that it must have been made for a wealthy ruler or a prince.

Page from Colossal or Giginatic Qur'an
Sura XXIX Ankabut, v.25-27
Calligraphy attributed to Omar-e/Umar-i Aqta
Central Asia (probably Samarqand or Herat)
c. 1400-1430
Ink and gold on paper
Length: 177 cm, width: 101 cm
MS.28.2007 This page belongs to a very rare gigantic Qur'an manuscript (now dispersed) from the Timurid period. It was produced under the patronage of Baysunghur – a grandson of Timur (r.1370 – 1405), or by Timur himself.

Jeweled Falcon
c. 1640
Gold with enamel and inlaid rubies, emeralds, diamonds, sapphires and onyx
Height: 23.4 cm, diameter: 8.3 cm, width: 6.9 cm
JE.69.2001 This extraordinary jeweled falcon was made in the Imperial Mughal workshop and was part of the private jewels of Shah Jahan. The symbolism of a falcon demonstrates kingship, whilst birds in connection with Muslim rulers represents victory and power.

1607-1619, setting 20th century
Gold, engraved spinels (Balas rubies,) diamonds, pearls
Length: 38.5 cm
JE.26.1997 This necklace of eleven Mughal spinel beads is engraved with the names if Akbar, Jahangir and Shahjahan, the three great Mughal emperors of India. Mughal Emperors had a passion for spinels, or 'Balas' rubies, and they were used greatly in royal commissions.

Calligraphic Jade Pendant (Haldili)
Dated 1401 AH (1631 -1632 AD)
Jade (nephrite), carved
Height: 3.3 cm, length: 5.1 cm
JE.85.2002 The haldili is a pendant worn to help cure heart “palpitations”. This haldili belonged to Shah Jahan, who may have used it to help with his grief over the loss of his beloved wife, the Empress Mumtaz Mahal, for whom he built the Taj Mahal.


11th-12th century
Gold decorated with gold wire, granulation and repoussé
Diameter: 8 cm
JE.118.2003 Gold work reached its zenith during the Fatimid dynasty. The custom of adorning the wrists with identical bracelets can be seen in the representations on Fatimid pottery. This pair of bracelets is one of the best known examples of a recognizable type made under Fatimid patronage.

A Seated Youth
Attributed to Mirza ‘Ali
Iran (probably Mashhad)
c. 1570 –75
Opaque watercolour with gold on paper
11.6 × 6.4 cm
MS.32.2007 Mirza ‘Ali was one of the leading artists in Safavid Iran, and worked on the monumental Shahnamah produced under Shah Tahmasp. The artist later produced a considerable number of single and double figure portraits, such as the present work, to satisfy the growing fashion for albums.

Feridoun Crossing the River Tigris
Illustrated folio from the Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp
Attributed to Sultan Muhammad
Iran (Tabriz); c.1525-1535
Opaque watercolour, ink and gold on paper
Length: 27.1 cm, width: 20.7 cm
MS.40.2007 The Shahnama ('Book of Kings') is a poetic opus written by the Persian poet Abu al-Qasim Firdawsi around 1010. The Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp was compiled by the best illuminators and calligraphers of its time, and is arguably the most impressive Persian manuscript ever made.

Pair of Doors or Window Shutters
Anatolia (Konya)
c. 1270
Carved walnut wood
Height: 165 cm, width: 115.5 cm
WW.56. 2003
These designs, made for the late Saljuq rulers of Anatolia show a characteristic form of the palmette and split-leaf arabesque. The geometrical style of woodwork is a tradition that dates back to pre-Islamic times, and is formed by straight framing pieces which hold decorated polygonal panels.

Dated 394 AH [1003AD]
Ivory, carved in relief, with black stain
Height: 4.3, diameter: 7.1 cm, length: 36.7 cm
IV.4.1998 This box is carved in relief, with scenes of mounted huntsmen and their prey, lions wreaking revenge on the huntsmen, and the occasional mythical griffin. The blackness of the surface is a result of centuries of use, giving the appearance of ebony.

The Kevorkian Hydrabad Carpet
India (Hydrabad)
17th century
325 × 1596 cm
CA.17.1997 This enormous carpet is a masterpiece of colour and pattern. A mix of so-called ‘Persian vase’ and ‘garden carpet’ styles, it stands out among Indian carpets of this type. The quality of its weave, as well as its large scale, suggests a royal commission.

Cushion Cover
Turkey (Bursa)
17th century
Cut voided silk velvet with precious metal thread
116 × 66 cm
TE.11.1997 Cushions were an important part of the furnishings of Ottoman domestic interiors. They provided seating, and added much of the colour to in the rooms. Textiles would display a variety of designs, often in rich and bright colours.

Curtain with Inscriptions
15th century
Silk lampas, woven
Length: 386 cm, width: 270 cm
TE.6.1999 The design of this curtain is very close to the decoration of the Alhambra and other Nasrid buildings. Conducting official business and receiving guests in curtained and draped surroundings secluded the Caliph from his subjects and was an indication of great prestige and status.

The 'Franchetti Tapestry'
Iran (Kashan)
Silk and silver wrapped silk thread on a silver foundation
Height: 219cm, width: 151cm
CA.2.1997 The animals depicted in this tapestry have a variety of origins. Some, such as the phoenix and the qilin, a deer like creature, derive from China. Others, such the bird of paradise, are drawn from an ancient indigenous tradition.

The 'Rothchild Carpet'
Iran (Kashan)
Mid-16th century
Silk pile on a silk foundation
Height: 234 cm, width: 177 cm
CA.21.1999 The arts in Iran flourished under the patronage of Shah Tahmasp (r.1524-576). This high quality silk carpet was probably made for courtly use during his reign. The décor is completely abstract; it is difficult to know whether designs of this type were imbued with meaning.

Spain (probably from Medinat al- Zahra, Cordoba)
c. 975 AD
Carved marble
Height: 30, width: 40 cms
SW.151.2008 Medinat al-Zahra, built by Caliph Abd al-Rahman III on the outskirts of Cordoba, hosted over 100 hectares of palaces and offices, gardens, pavilions and pools. Almost nothing but archaeological traces now remain, but pieces such as this carved capital evoke the magnificence of the Umayyad court.

Head from a Statue
This impressive stucco head of a male figure is a rare example of a three-dimensional human representation in the medieval Islamic world. It is attributable to the Saljuq period, which is especially known for their use of figural representation.

Fountain Head
Mid 10th century
Bronze, engraved
Height: 48.1 cm
MW.7.1997 This fountain head is in the form of a hind (female deer). It would have once stood beside a basin or pool, with water spouting from its mouth, in a palatial setting in Umayyad Spain.

St. Jerome as the Representation of Melancholy
Dated 1024 AH/AD 1615; album page: c. 1640; calligraphy: Iran, 16th century
Illustration from a Mughal royal album
Signed by Farrukh Beg, calligraphy signed by ‘Ali and borders attributed to Mansur
Seal impression of Emperor Jahangir
Opaque watercolour with ink and gold on paper
MS.44.2007 Made for Emperor Jahangir, this painting is based on the works by the 16th century European painter, Albrecht Dürer. The fashion for copying or borrowing aspects from European prints began during the Akbar period when prints were brought to India by Jesuit missionaries, travelers and emissaries.

Illuminated Shamsa
c. 1640 –50
Opaque watercolour with gold on paper
38 × 27.4 cm
MS.53.2007 A shamsa is the illuminated opening page of a manuscript, often found in albums from Persia and India. This page may have been made for one of the royal albums of Shah Jahan. The radiating sun-disk design often employed as a symbol of imperial power.

Iran (shiraz)
Brass, engraved and inlaid with gold and silver
Height: 34.5 cm, diamteter: 38.2 cm
MW.122.1999 Artisans of Shiraz were renowned for their workmanship and the chasing and inlay techniques here are of extremely high quality. The inscription reveals that it was made for Abu Ishaq Inju, ruler of Fars (1341-1356).

Made by Ahmed ibn Husain ibn Baso
Spain (Granada)
Dated AH 709 [1309]
Diameter 13.5 cm
MW.342. This work is one of only three surviving astrolabes made by Ahmed ibn Husain ibn Baso, a well-known astronomer and muwaqit (Official Time-keeper) for the Great Mosque of Grenada. It is inscribed in both Latin and Arabic, demonstrating the exchange in Islamic knowledge from East to West.



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