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Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia
Muzium Kesenian Islam Malaysia
Exterior of the museum in 2022
Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia is located in Kuala Lumpur
Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia
Location within Kuala Lumpur
LocationJalan Lembah Perdana, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Coordinates3°08′31″N 101°41′23″E / 3.1419°N 101.6898°E / 3.1419; 101.6898
DirectorSyed Mohamad Albukhary[1]
Public transit accessKuala Lumpur Railway Station (KTM Komuter)

The Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia (Malay: Muzium Kesenian Islam Malaysia) is a museum in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It was officially opened on 12 December 1998. The museum is the largest museum of Islamic arts in Southeast Asia with more than seven thousands artifacts from the Islamic world.[2]


The largest Muslim community in the world are inhabitants of the Nusantara region,[3] which is the Indonesian/Malay name for the southern half of Maritime Southeast Asia. The capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, houses the largest museum for Islamic Art in Southeast Asia. Although a clear date for the establishment of Islamic communities on the Malay peninsula is difficult to place; the introduction of the faith was likely influenced by busy trade routes between the China Sea and Indian Ocean.[4]

Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia

Commonly seen to be on the periphery of the Islamic Art cannon, perhaps due to strong traditions of local visual cultures, scholars have argued that it is time that Indonesia and the rest of the Nusantara region be fully "brought into the main discourse of Islamic Art."[5] Perhaps due to Islam's later arrival in this region, art historians have grappled with defining purely Islamic art within such a dominant visual culture, where overlapping and intersection of aesthetics with other faiths in the region make strict definitions difficult.[6]

Central illumination of the Royal Terengganu Quran dated 1871


Art using calligraphy at the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia

The museum consists of twelve gallery spaces, spread over two levels. Level one contains galleries devoted to Architecture, Qur’an and other Manuscripts, and one each for the art of India, China and the Malay Peninsula. Level two houses galleries devoted to Arms & Armor, Textiles, Jewelry and Coins, with the remaining three galleries consisting of art works categorized by their materials – Metal, Wood and Ceramics.[7] The museum is also known for their collection of ancient Islamic glassware.[8]

The museum also houses educational, research, and extensive conservation facilities.[9] One of the most famous permanent exhibitions is a faithfully restored and complete early-nineteenth century "Ottoman Room"[10] dating back to the 19th century.[8] Conservators used data born out of the restoration of this room to collaborate frequently with international colleagues, add to the wider conversation about conserving Islamic vernacular architecture, and to draw attention to the effects on “painted woods in tropical climates such as Southeast Asia.”[11]


The exterior of the 30,000 sq. meter building is defined by clean lines and 21st century construction techniques, yet includes some traditional Islamic architectural details that activate the surface.[12] Such details include the ornate, turquoise-colored tiled domes that recall a textile aesthetic and have established the building as an iconic landmark on the Kuala Lumpur skyline. Likewise, an entrance reminiscent of an Iwan, embellished by Iranian tile workers, continues the tapestry aesthetic, engaging with the surroundings and speaking to the viewer with the incorporation of a welcoming Qur’anic verse.[13]

Awards and recognition

Awards and Recognition
Year Awards/Recognition Organization
2014 Platinum Award-Tourist Attraction (Culture, Arts and Heritage) Category[14] Kuala Lumpur Mayor's Tourism Award
Top 10 Travellers’ Choice Museums (10th in Asia)[14] TripAdvisor
2015 Top 10 Travellers’ Choice Museums (10th in Asia)[15] TripAdvisor


The museum is accessible within walking distance west of Kuala Lumpur railway station.

See also


  1. ^ "Syed Mohamad Albukhary". Asia-Europe Museum Network. Archived from the original on 16 March 2015. Retrieved 22 September 2015.
  2. ^ "Islamic Arts Museum". TimeOut Kuala Lumpur. 23 April 2014. Retrieved 22 September 2015.
  3. ^ bin Tajudeen, Imran (20 June 2017), "Trade, Politics, and Sufi Synthesis in the Formation of Southeast Asian Islamic Architecture", A Companion to Islamic Art and Architecture, Hoboken, NJ, USA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., pp. 996–1022, doi:10.1002/9781119069218.ch38, ISBN 978-1-119-06921-8, retrieved 12 November 2020
  4. ^ Laffan, Michael (2011). "The Makings of Indonesian Islam: Orientalism and the Narration of a Sufi Past". Princeton Series in Muslim Politics. 26. Princeton (NJ) and Oxford: Princeton University Press: 6. ISBN 9780691145303.
  5. ^ Carboni, Stefano (4 November 2017). "Collecting 'Islamic' Art in Southeast Asia and Australia: Past, Present and Future". Lecture, Islamic Art Symposium: Podcasts. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  6. ^ Coffey, Margaret (2007). "Crescent moon islamic art and civilisation in southeast asia, at the art gallery of south australia". Material Religion. 3 (2): 299–301. doi:10.2752/175183407x219877. ISSN 1743-2200. S2CID 194078182.
  7. ^ "Galleries | IAMM". Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  8. ^ a b "Islamic Arts Museum". Archived from the original on 11 September 2012. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  9. ^ "Conservation & Research Centre | IAMM". Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  10. ^ Trevathan, Idries; Thiagarajah, Lalitha (2010). "The Ottoman Room at the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia: A Technical Study of ITS Methods and Materials". Studies in Conservation. 55 (sup2): 123. doi:10.1179/sic.2010.55.supplement-2.120. ISSN 0039-3630. S2CID 191580158.
  11. ^ Trevathan, Idries; Thiagarajah, Lalitha (2010). "The Ottoman Room at the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia: A Technical Study of ITS Methods and Materials". Studies in Conservation. 55 (sup2): 125. doi:10.1179/sic.2010.55.supplement-2.120. ISSN 0039-3630. S2CID 191580158.
  12. ^
  13. ^ "About Us | IAMM". Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  14. ^ a b "Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia: Sacred and Splendid". The Star (Malaysia). Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  15. ^ "KL's Islamic Arts Museum among the top in Asia". The Star (Malaysia). Archived from the original on 8 May 2016. Retrieved 22 September 2015.


Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia