Aga Khan Museum

An inspiring collection of the arts of Muslim civilizations

Photo of Accordion Album of Calligraphic Examples, an art piece at the Aga Khan Museum. Accordion Album of Calligraphic Examples in “Shikasteh Nasta‘liq”, Iran, 29.2 x 19 cm, 1800–50, Ink and gold on paper with leather binding
Qur’an Juz’

Qur’an Juz’ , Iran 6.6 x 4.7 cm, mid-15th century, Ink, opaque watercolour, and gold on paper, leather binding

Apart from housing some of the most beautiful and creative artwork I have had the privilege of seeing in person, hats off must go to the design of the Aga Khan Museum building itself. Its amazing contemporary style uses light and large spaces to showcase the art and display it in a way that achieves a seamless connection between the eclectic art of the ancient world of Islam and modern day design. It is no wonder this building is an architectural prize winner.

The story of Haftvad and the worm, folio from Shahnameh of Shah Tahmasp

The story of Haftvad and the worm, folio from Shahnameh of Shah Tahmasp, Tabriz, Iran, 47 x 31.8 cm, 1540, Opaque
watercolour, gold, ink, paper

The entrance way to the permanent collection of over 1,000 pieces, welcomes the visitor with an incredible mesmerizing animated vignette. It gradually displays bit by bit, artistic elements, themes and objects used within the various pieces of art found throughout the gallery.

Incense Burner

Incense Burner, Eastern Iran, 28 x 28 cm, 11th century, Copper inlaid bronze

The museum showcases diverse works of art from Islamic civilization from the 8th century through to the 21st century. These incredible pieces that originated from Muslim civilizations from the Iberian Peninsula to China, include various collections of architectural decoration; calligraphy and illumination; ceramics; luxury objects; metalwork; painted manuscripts; Qur’ans and science and learning. The museum’s mission is to foster a greater understanding and appreciation of the contribution that Muslim civilizations have made to world heritage.


Robe, Iran or Central Asia, Height 140 cm, 13th–14th centuries; Silk and metal thread

An exceptional treat was the temporary exhibition entitled Marvellous Creatures: Animals in Islamic Art that included artworks that used images of real and mythical animals that were used in legends and fables throughout the Islamic world. Their purpose, to educate and inform the youth and the future generations.


Dish, Iznik, Turkey, 34.3 cm, height 7.4 cm, 1570–80, Fritware,

Open to all ages to explore, the museum also offers educational programs for secondary students. A general tour on its own, has links to visual arts, language, math, social studies, history, geography, Canada, world studies and religions.

Devotional Calligraphic Composition

Devotional Calligraphic Composition, India (Historic Hindustan), 12 x 19.2 cm, 17th century, Opaque watercolour, ink, and gold on paper.

Pattern Play in Art and Math, developed for Grades 9–12 is a two-hour exploration searching the Museum and galleries for geometric shapes and arabesque designs. Colours in Islamic Art gives Grades 7–12 a two-hour opportunity to discover the colours of the pre-modern world and how artists created and utilized vibrant pigments that have survived for centuries. There is Visual Storytelling offered to all ages where students travel through Iran, India, Central Asia, and beyond investigating storytelling techniques and they see how artists narrate cultural histories through traditional and contemporary contexts. The Silk Route Adventures for Grades 9–12 is a two-hour discovery of the permanent collection and special exhibitions examining the many ways that the Silk Routes encouraged the diffusion of goods, ideas, peoples, and cultures across Europe and Asia.

Tile Panel

Tile Panel, Central Asia, 51.8 x 37.5 x 6.4 cm, second half of 14th century, Earthenware, carved and glazed

The museum is open to the public Tuesday to Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. except Wednesdays, when hours are extended to 8:00 p.m.

Pre-booked school visits and programs are available throughout the school year Monday to Friday mornings or afternoons. Please inquire regarding full-day programs and the flexibility of visit times by emailing or by calling 416.646.4677. For all other information visit

About Ronda Allan
Ronda Allan is the Managing Editor of Education Forum and and works at Provincial Office as Publications Manager/Editorial Assistant.

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