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Collection Highlights

The Fitzwilliam Museum holds an important collection of applied arts from the Islamic world, including a selection of prayer rugs, glass and metalwork as well as a wide range of ceramics, representing many of the most significant achievement of Islamic potters throughout the last 1400 years. The collection includes examples of pottery used for both domestic and religious purposes of several different types, from different geographic regions, for example Turkish Iznik pottery and lusterware from the Middle East. In contrast to the ceramics from Europe or Asia, many of these ceramics were found during archaeological excavations and as such are fragmentary or composite and require further conservation. Although the collection is referred to as ‘Islamic art’, some pieces predate the introduction of Islam to their places of manufacture. 

Over 200 of the finest pieces in the collection were bequeathed by Oscar C. Raphael, a distinguished collector and expert on the history and arts of the East, who had become the first Honorary Keeper of Oriental Ceramics in 1924 and remained in this post until his death in 1941. His bequest brought the Fitzwilliam's holdings of Far Eastern ceramics to a level of national significance.



  • Medieval Islamic Lustre Ware Pottery

    Medieval lustre wares form a significant part of the Museum's Islamic pottery collection, currently being researched and recorded. A new technique called polynomial texture mapping is being used with selected objects. This enables viewing of an item on screen under varying light conditions in a way that previously was only possible by handling the object.

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