Islam at the Tropenmuseum

This beautifully illustrated book presents for the first time the rich Islamic collections of the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam. Highlighting over a hundred artworks and everyday objects, the author demonstrates how Muslims, from the beginning of Islam to the present day, have expressed their faith in art  and culture. The book features a wide variety of artefacts from different regions of the world, from Southeast Asia of the Middle East, from West Africa to the Caribbean. Figurative paintings and prints, works of calligraphy and everyday objects embellished with religious motifs testify to the extraordinary richness and diversity of Islamic artistic expression.

The Tropenmuseum Islamic collections are wide ranging including everyday household objects and popular art, colonial-period artefacts and contemporary art. The book presents the multiple histories of how these objects were collected and displayed, beginning in the 19th century with the founding of the Colonial Museum in Haarlem. It explores the changing ways in which the idea of Islam, as a religion, and as a set of practices, has been understood throughout time and how these changing ideas influenced the museum’s collections. The author’s detailed research is packaged in an accessible language to illuminate the history of this fascinating collection, providing a new and innovative framework for understanding Islamic collections as a whole. The book will be highly appealing to both the interested general reader and the specialist.

This is the fifth volume of a series of ten books that discuss the collections of the Tropenmuseum and the histories and stories that accompany them.

the author:
Mirjam Shatanawi is an expert on Islamic cultural history. She is curator of the Middle Eastern and North African collections at the National Museum of World Cultures, the Netherlands.