• Inspired by books Islamic Design

    Inspired by books Islamic Design


Search over 400 objects from the MIA collection

Many of these items are on display in the museum. We will be adding more objects from the collection as they are digitised.

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In this official portrait Fath 'Ali Shah, second ruler of the Qajar dynasty, is depicted wearing a heavily bejewelled parure and a feathered crown encrusted with precious stones and pearls. This painting has been attributed to the court painter Mihr 'Ali, one of the most prominent painters of his time and a favourite by Fath 'Ali Shah. His royal portraits capture not only the grandeur and the majesty of the shah and his court; they were also instrumental in conveying precise messages to their onlookers and so used as political tools.


Portrait of Fath 'Ali Shah Qajar attributed to Mihr 'Ali, Iran, Qajar period, dated 1231 AH/1816 CE, PA.18.2010

The Black Buck

India, 18th century CE

The Black Buck (Nilgai in Hindi) is an antelope recognisable by its twisted horns. The illustration shows a black and white buck standing in a green landscape with trees across the horizon. The border decoration is composed of red flowers on a white ground.

This illustration of animals became common under the emperor Jahangir (r. 1569 – 1627). Even though this painting is much later (c1740-50), it shows how this tradition continued after his reign.

This style of painting derives from the great portraits of the Mughal emperors, where they are pictured standing sideways at the centre of the composition with a landscape in the background.

The Black Buck

There is much more to MIA’s collection than is on display in the museum.  Only about 10% of the collection can be seen in the ‘permanent galleries’ on floors 2 and 3. Behind the scenes, we care for a diverse collection of objects from across the Islamic world.

We carefully document our collections using modern computer systems, so that we have the most up-to-date information about each object. That includes moving and tracking objects around the building, labelling objects with their unique accession number, maintaining the object in the permanent exhibition galleries, as well as research, conservation and photography projects. 

For each special exhibition held at MIA, we bring in objects from around the world to complement our collections. We also lend our objects nationally and internationally to support Islamic art exhibitions.  

Our staff are highly skilled in conservation, documentation and object handling, to ensure that our collections are preserved for future generations.

We share our knowledge, experience and expertise through publications, lectures and workshops, and opportunities to collaborate on research and conservation projects with other institutions.


MIA has one of the most advanced conservation laboratories in Qatar where our team of specialist conservators works with curators, registrars, exhibitions and gallery teams to understand, document, explain and present MIA’s collections.

We work with a wide variety of objects including manuscripts and books, ceramics and glass, metals and jewellery, wood and stone, and textiles collections. Our conservation activities follow recognised international standards and professional codes of ethics.

We care for each object in the MIA collection, whether it is on display, in storage or during transportation.  We also monitor environmental conditions, such as temperature, humidity, light and check for possible pest activity. We will examine an object’s component materials, the technology that created it and any causes of deterioration, then decide if an object should receive remedial treatment, and if so, what kind. That way the MIA collections are safely preserved, can be used for research and displayed to the public. 

Hajj certificate

Iraq, 21 Muharram 837 AH, 6 September 1433 CE

The Hajj certificate is a legal and juridical document bearing the name of the person that has executed a minor or major pilgrimage (‘umra or hajj) to Mecca. This certificate was for a pilgrim called Sayyid Yusuf bin SayyidShihab al-Din Mawara al-Nahri.

Measuring about seven meters long, it depicts symbolic figures showing the steps that Sayyid Yusuf took when visiting the holiest sites including Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem. It also features a large illustration of the Prophet’s sandal. At the foot of the document, the witnesses have signed to testify about the pilgrimage.

Hajj certificate