2016 WORLD LUX  11A. THE PRIVATE MUSEUMS WORLD LUXURY Issue – The Aga Khan Museum of Islamic Art JPG



His Highness Prince Shah Karim Al Husseini, the Aga Khan, is the 49th hereditary imam or spiritual leader of the approximately 12 million Shia Ismaili Muslims worldwide.  As their religious leader, he interprets the faith and is responsible for helping to improve the quality of life of his flock.


In keeping with his mandate, His Highness recently opened his private museum in Toronto, Canada, designed by Pritzker Prize-winning Japanese architect Fumihiko Maki.  The museum aims “to offer unique insights and new perspectives into Islamic civilizations and the cultural threads that weave through history binding us all together”.


The museum shares a 17-acre property with the Ismaili Centre, Toronto, designed by the Indian architect Charles Correa.  Serbian-Lebanese landscape architect Vladimir Djurovic’s peaceful Islamic oasis of fountains and vegetation “that evokes ancient gardens of the past” separates the two buildings.  The three units create “emblems of the cultural, spiritual, and natural worlds in peaceful coexistence, and represent a harmonious ideal that is central to the traditions of Islam”.


The museum’s permanent collection contains over 1,000 objects.  These are unique and pristine masterpieces that span 10 centuries of the history and artistry of muslim civilizations from the Iberian Peninsula to China: authentic portraits, textiles, jewelry, miniatures, manuscripts, ceramics, tiles, intricate metalwork, medical texts, books, and musical instruments.  The Aga Khan and his family collected these treasures over many generations.  Special highlights of the core collection include: a 10th century marble capital, an illustrated 13th century manuscript, a 14th century planispheric astrolabe with a brass surface that contains inscriptions in Latin, Arabic, and Hebrew, rare ancient Qur’ans and brilliant Mughal jewelry.  A fully-furnished Persian salon from Belle Rive, the Geneva chateau that belonged to the Aga Khan’s late uncle, Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan, complete with its lush Persian carpets and the Prince’s red, ancient and rare Islamic ceramics-filled display cabinets, has been reassembled in its entirety as a gallery in the Museum.


An added bonus to witnessing and admiring the exquisite Islamic art and artifacts is that they are displayed in a manner that the Aga Khan insisted on, in spacious, well-labeled display cabinets and natural, light-filled surroundings.  The museum is a truly compelling venue in which to be introduced to, learn about, and marvel at the “artistic, intellectual, scientific, and religious heritage of Muslim civilizations in which all religions and civilizations share”.




Location: 77 Wynford Drive, Toronto, Ontario, Canada   M3C 1K1

Telephone: (416) 646-4677   Website: www.agakhanmuseum.org


Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM

             Thursday: 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM    Closed Mondays


Admission: Adults: $20.  Seniors/Students/Children 3 to 14: $15.









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