The construction of the museum began in the end of 19th century, in 1914 under the name of Islamic Foundations Museum, it was opened to received visitors in the Süleymaniye Mosque Complex which is one of the important works of Mimar Sinan.
Later, the museum was relocated to The Palace of Ibrahim Pasha whose restoration was totally completed in 1983 and reopened second time with its new name Museum of Turkish and Islamıc Works of Art for its visitors.
Also, it has the privilage of being the very first Turkish museum that embraces the whole Turkish and Islamic works of art.
The Palace of Ibrahim Pasha which is located in the west of the Square of Sultan Ahmed, rises above the echelons of the hippodrome which dates back to the Roman Age.
This building whose date of construction and reasons are unknown, was given as a gift by Suleiman the Magnificient to Ibrahim Pasha who would be his grand vizier for 13 years in 1520.
This is the only private palace, except the palaces of the sultans, which is extant today.
Unlike the Ottoman civil structures which are mainly wooden, this palace, which stands around the four grand inner courts, can reach our day as a result of its construction that is made of stone. And, having been restored between 1966 and 1983, it has regenerated as a new building of the Museum of the Turkish and Islamic Works of Art.
In its rooms and salons, rare works of art that are made in different countries of the Islamic World are shown. Stone, terracotta, metal and ceramic objects, objects that are made of glass, handwritten books are the precious examples of their own times.
The Museum of Turkish and Islamic Works of Art,
in 1984, received the Special Jury Award of The Competition of the Year of The Museum by European Council,
in 1985, was awarded as a result of its efforts to endear the cultural heritage to children by European Council – Unesco.
The Museum of Turkish and Islamic Works of Art, which holds its important place among the related museums of the world, has distinguished works of art from nearly each period and each style of Islamic Art with its collection of more than 40.000 pieces.
The Section of Rugs
The museum has not only Turkey’s but also the world’s richest collection of rugs.
As well as the rare Seljuk rugs of 13rd century, the prayer rugs and the rugs with animal figures that belong to 15th century; the rugs with geometric patterns or inspired by kufic writings, which were generated in Anatolia between 15th and 17th centuries and known as the “Holbein Rug” in West, form the most worthy pieces of this section.
The rug collection of the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Works of Art which is growing rich with oriental rug, famous Uşak rug and pieces of palace rugs, is an affluent source for those who would like to make an observation on art of rug in the world.
The Section of Handwrittens and Calligraphy
The Korans which extend from 7th century to 20th century, form a great part of this section, and they also come from wide geographical area in which Islam was evolved.
This is precious collection in which you can see the calligraphies of The Umayyad, The Abbasi, Egypt, and Tulunoğulları of Syria along with those of Fatımi, The Ayyubids, Memluk, Mogul, Turkoman, Seljuk, Timuri, Safavi, Kaçar and Anatolian Principalities, also The Ottoman’s.
Besides The Korans, among the handwrittens there are (some picture) books that are interesting both for their subjects, styles of handwritten and also for their covers.
The Firmans that carry the signature of the sultans of The Ottoman Empire, the Berats, the sultans’s signatures each of which is an art of work, Turkish and Iran miniature handwrittens, and divans lead The Museum of Turkish and Islamic Works of Art to be one of the special museums of the world in this subject.
The Section of Wooden Arts
The most precious parts of this section are composed of the examples of Anatolian Wooden Arts of 9th – 10th centuries.
As well as the rare pieces that remain from the era of Anatolian Seljuks and Principalities, the matchless examples of the Ottoman era which left wooden arts with nacre, ivory and tortoiseshell handlings, the coverings for the fragments of Koran, lecterns, and the drawers are the most attractive items of this rich collection.
The Section of Stone Arts
The written stone arts that pertain to the eras of The Umayyads, Abbasi, Memluk, Seljuk Sultanate, the Ottoman Empire are either with motifs or with figures, and all of these are collected in the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Works of Art. The rare and special examples of Seljuk Era, the tombstones with figures of various fairy creatures such as sphinx, griphon, dragon; stone creations with Kufic writings belonging to early period, and epigraphs with diverse styles that are different extension of Ottoman calligraphy are not only important for their qualities, but also for their quantities.
The Section of Ceramic and Glass
The ceramic creations which were found in the excavations of 1908 – 14 period overbear in the collection, and among them the ones from Samarra, Rakka, Tel Halep, Keşan dominate.
Therefore, it is possible to observe the stages of Early Islamic Era of ceramic arts in the museum collection.
The examples of mosaic, altar, wall tile pertaining to the era of Anatolian Seljuks and Principalities and the gypsum decoration of Konya Kılıçaslan Palace form the another important part of the collection.
The samples of Ottoman china and ceramic works of art culminate with near period Kütahya and Çanakkale ceramics.
On the other hand, the collection of glass begins with the samples of Islamic works of glass of 9th century, continues with Memluk kerosene lamps of 15th century, and involves the examples of works of glass of the Ottoman Age.
The Section of Mine Arts
The section of mine arts of the museum that originates with the rare samples of Seljuk Sultanate and mortar, thuribles, ewers, mirrors, and dirhems of Anatolian Seljuk Era, arranges an important collection with the knockers of Cizre Ulu Mosque and 14th century candlesticks with astrological signs and planet symbols which have a significant place in Islamic mine arts.
Among the specimens of Ottoman mine creations that begin in 16th century and reach 19th century, there are silver, brass, murassa (with gem stones) combs, kerosene lambs, gülabdans, thuribles, basins and ewers.
The Section of Ethnography
Being the youngest section of the museum, this collection exhibits ethnographic pieces that have been collected for ages, carpet and rug worktables picked up in various regions of Anatolia, weavings, techniques of wool painting, examples of folk weaving and handling, costumes in their local richness, furnitures, handicraft, tools of handicraft, nomadic tents in their own special rooms.
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