Attributed to Muhammad Hasan (Persian, active 1808–1840). Prince Yahya, circa 1835–36. Oil on canvas, 67 x 35 in. (170.2 x 88.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles K. Wilkinson, 72.26.5
Islamic Galleries, 2nd Floor
The arts of the Islamic world reflect a variety of inspirations and expressions—religious and secular, courtly and popular, urban and nomadic—seen in a wide range of media, including the arts of the book (calligraphy, drawing and painting, illumination, and bookbinding), the portable arts (ceramics, glass, metalwork, woodwork, textiles and carpets, jewelry, ivory, and stone), large-scale painting, architectural elements, photography, and more. The Brooklyn Museum’s collection is encyclopedic and demonstrates the aesthetic range and ethnic diversity of Islamic art.
The presentation in the galleries spans a wide geographic area, including Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Egypt, Syria, and Central Asian countries such as Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan. In addition to devotional objects, it includes ceremonial and household goods, arms and armor, costumes, horse trappings, and jewelry. On display are works from the Museum’s renowned, comprehensive group of later Persian art of the Qajar period (1779–1924), which is one of the finest outside Iran. Also well-represented are medieval Islamic ceramics, the arts of Safavid Iran, Ottoman Turkish ceramics and textiles, Turkmen costumes and jewelry, and North African textiles, costumes, and jewelry.
Among the most dramatic works featured in the galleries is a large-scale Qajar painting of the legendary Battle of Karbala, which commemorates the martyrdom of Husayn, the grandson of the prophet Muhammad. This work once served as a backdrop for either a processional or theatrical narration of Husayn’s story and is the focal point of the main gallery’s central niche.
The galleries display approximately 135 works and feature regular rotations of light-sensitive material. The installation is arranged chronologically and regionally with certain sections highlighting themes of special interest or connections with other collection areas in the Museum. Complementary didactic materials and educational programming in the galleries are designed to reach the Museum's many audiences, including the vibrant, diverse Muslim community, which is an important local Brooklyn constituency.
Look behind the scenes at the reinstallation of the Islamic galleries.