Interest in Islamic art has grown enormously in recent years. Reflecting this awareness, in December 1998 Malaysia became home to Southeast Asia’s largest museum of Islamic art. The building occupies 30,000 square metres, situated amid the leafy surroundings of central Kuala Lumpur’s Lake Gardens.
The Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia houses more than seven thousand artefacts, as well has an exceptional library of Islamic-art books. The art objects on display range from the tiniest pieces of jewellery to one of the world’s largest scale models of the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca. The aim is to create a collection that is truly representative of the Islamic world. Instead of concentrating on works from the heartlands of Persia and the Middle East, IAMM also puts the emphasis on Asia. China and Southeast Asia are especially well represented. The third component of the Malaysian melting pot is India, which is also given special status. India, China and the Malay world are in an exceptional category. Other parts of the collection are displayed according to type rather than geographical origins in the museum’s 12 galleries.
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The National Museum, a striking building characteristic of traditional Malay architecture stands proud in the heart of Kuala Lumpur.
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