The Islamic art collection of the Anima Mundi Vatican Museum on display in Australia

19 April – 22 July 2018
National Museum of Australia, Canberra

Meshla (overcoat), Syria, Damascus or Aleppo, 19th century, tapestry-woven wool, silk and metal thread brocading, 850×960 mm. Vatican Anima Mundi Museums, inv. 112279. Photo © Vatican Museums

A verse from the Koran inspires the title of the exhibition to be inaugurated on 19 April in Canberra in the National Museum of Australia: “So That You Might Know Each Other: Islamic Faith and Culture”. This long-running project was first realized in the exhibition organized by the Vatican Museums in 2014 at the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization in the United Arab Emirates: an unprecedented event in which the Pope’s Museums, for the first time in their 500 years of history, exhibited their treasures of Islamic art and culture.

Bidri shield with Farsi poem, India, late 19th century, cast zinc alloy, silver and brass inlay, velve, 372 x 55 mm. Vatican Anima Mundi Museum, inv. 122028. Photo © Vatican Museums

From Thursday, until 22 July 2018, it will be the turn of the Australian public to be able to admire an enriched re-edition of the first exhibition, the fruit of an exceptional collaboration between three prestigious cultural institutions: the Anima Mundi Museum of the Vatican Museums, the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization and the National Museum of Australia. More than 100 valuable artefacts are on display (dating from the eighteenth to the twentieth century), originating from more than 20 countries, from the Sharjah Museum and in large part from the Vatican Collections.

As shown by the exhortation contained in the title of the exhibition – “So That You Might Know Each Other” – and explained in the subtitle, the exhibition is intended not only to demonstrate the rich cultural and artistic exchange that has taken place over the centuries between Islam and Christianity, but also to adopt one of the priorities of Pope Francis’ ministry: mutual understanding and dialogue between different cultures, in the name of the universal values of peace and tolerance.

 

PRESS RELEASE 

PREFACE TO EXHIBITION CATALOGUE BY CARDINAL GIUSEPPE BERTELLO 

PREFACE TO EXHIBITION CATALOGUE BY DIRECTOR BARBARA JATTA 

PREFACE TO EXHIBITION CATALOGUE BY FR. NICOLA MAPELLI, ULRIKE AL-KHAMIS, CAROL COOPER