• SL Saoud Islamic Art


One of the first collections Sheikh Saoud began was Islamic Art, at the request of HH the Father Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. He amassed pieces with the idea of creating a masterpiece collection, of high quality, unique artefacts that reflected the technical mastery of their craftsmen, as well as having a special story behind them. In this beautiful building conceived by I.M. Pei, our visitors discover this civilization through exceptional royal commissions, amongst others, of the Islamic world.


One of the first acquisitions Sheikh Saoud made for Qatar, and a highlight of MIA’s collection, this piece shows how the royal and elite patronage flourished in Umayyad Spain. From the 16th to the early 19th century, this fountainhead was reused in the Monastery of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe in Spain, which is how it survived.

Fountainhead in the shape of a hind (female deer)
Spain, Madinat al-Zahra, Umayyads of al-Andalus, 940-1010 CE
Cast bronze
MIA, MW.7.1997


MIA’s collection of enamelled mosque lamps is the second largest in the Middle East after that of the Museum of Islamic Art in Cairo. This lamp is dedicated to Sultan Barquq (r. 1382-1389 and 1390-1399). It is decorated with a famous Qur’anic verse from the Surat al-Nur (24:35), referring to divine light. 

Mosque Lamp of Sultan Barquq
Egypt, Cairo, Mamluk period, 14th century (c. 1382-99)
Enamelled and Gilded Glass
MIA, GL.2.1999 


This bowl belongs to a type of ceramic production known as “splash ware”, which was heavily influenced by Chinese ware. It was one of Sheikh Saoud’s favourite pieces, as he was fascinated with the beginning of Islam and in particular the achievements of craftsmen in the early periods.

Splashed ware bowl
Iraq, Abbasid period, 9th century
Underglaze painted earthenware
MIA, PO.53.1999



Signed by Ahmad ibn Shukrallah al-Farsi
Iran, Timurid or Safavid period, 15th - 16th century
Carved and gilded rock crystal
MIA, GL.293.2004