Few weeks back my son told me that he would love to visit the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia (IAMM) as Mualim Fadzli (his Agama school teacher) told him about the Quran exhibition at the museum. And yesterday, the first day of 2nd term school holiday, my husband and I took him to IAMM. Frankly, me myself have been wanting to go for quite sometimes already to see the magnificent Islamic arts collection from around the world. I seriously do not why it took me so long to visit IAMM but I totally blame the there-is always-tomorrow attitude that I have in me. KL and Selangor has been my home for the past 33 years and it is shameful of me to visit less than 50% of the attractions. And for that matter, I am going to explore KL/Selangor this school holiday. Expect more jalan-jalan entries from me.
Admission to the museum is RM6 for student and RM12 for adult.
Established in 1998, IAMM has become one of the world’s leading museum dedicated to Islamic Arts. It houses more than 7000 artefacts from around the world, mostly from Persia and the Middle East as well as Southeast Asia; namely China, India and Malaysia. There all altogether 12 galleries here but below are some of my favourite galleries.
The Architecture Gallery. This permanent gallery showcases scale models of selected mosques in the effort to convey the splendour of Islamic architecture. These range from the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina to the Daxuexi Mosque in Xian, China. To give a more intimate impression of these sacred spaces, IAMM made the effort to re-create a mosque interior in this gallery. The exhibition is divided into 6 sections representing the major typological divisions of architecture erected within the Islamic lands. Al Haram Mosque and Prophet’s Mosque (Nabawi) are two that represents the sacred topographies. This followed by Religious and Funerary Architecture, Fortress and City, Palace, Garden and Pavilion& Tents.
The Prophet’s Mosque (Nabawi), Medina, saudi Arabia 7th Century AD. This mosque was constructed shortly after the Prophet (PBUH) migrated from Mecca to Medina in 622 AD.
Daxuexi Mosque, Xi’an, China, 684AD. This mosque was built during the Tang Dynasty. The mosque very much illustrates the Chinese architecture.
The Quran & Manuscript Gallery. I found that the Quran collection is amazing. Love the original exhibits of Quran and the stories of the use of media and the art behind it. Some of the Qurans here originated from Turkey, Iran, Java, Uzbezkistan, China, India and even Malaysia.
Al-Quran from Terengganu, Malaysia. 18th CenturyAD.
Quran leaf on vellum. Early kufic script, North Africa or Middle East, 750-800 AD. Contains Surah al-Araf, verses 157-161.
Textile Gallery. Collection here are mostly from the eastern end of Islam. The Safavids and Mughals were responsible for some of the greatest advances in the field. Elaborate woven silks and brilliant colour-fast dyes for cottons were hugely popular. Above all, the intricate plant motifs developed in Kashmir made their mark on the world, most notably as the shawls that were later copied by the workshops of Paisley in Scotland.
Textiles were used for decorative as well as sartorial purposes. With the nomadic origins of so many of Islam’s ruling dynasties, it was inevitable that they would continue to value the portability of textiles. For the rest of society, nostalgia played a smaller part than practicality. With a general scarcity of wood, woven products were the obvious choice for wall and floor coverings.
Here are some of my favourites:
I am really happy to visit IAMM. When asked which galleries he likes the most, Yassin told me that he likes The Quran Gallery and the Arms & Armour Gallery. Other galleries here include Jewellery, Arms & Armour, Living with Wood, Coins & Seals, Metalwork and Ceramic & Glassware. While facilities include Children’s Library, Museum Shop, Museum Restaurant, Fountain Garden and many more. For convenience of visitors, IAMM provides postal services. Admission for student is RM6 and adult RM12. Free for children below 6. IAMM open from Monday to Sunday as well as public holidays from 10am to 6pm.
Go check Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia tomorrow. Or the day after tomorrow. Or the day after that. But please don’t take 14 years to visit like me.