The Collection

Islamic art is often characterized by a particular ‘noble austerity’. The outstanding BUMILLER COLLECTION of more than 6,000 exhibits invites visitors to experience this ’noble austerity’, and takes you on an adventure journey into the Early Period in Islamic art. Learn how the artisans and craftsmen of this period developed creative solutions to negotiate the Islamic concept of the prohibition on depicting God (Allah)*. Geometric ornamentation, stylized representations of human and animal figures, decorations tenderly playing with the lines of symmetry – all these do not merely compensate for the purposeful omission of imagery, they enliven Islamic art in an inimitable way.

Helmet, BC-6.153, Bronze with Silver and Copper Inlays, Herat (Afghanistan), 12/13th C. Details


Long-Necked Bottles, BC-5.218, Glas, (north-eastern) Iran, 9/10 C.Details

Glas Bottels Ensemble

Oillamp with Six Flames, BC-5.988, Bronze, Balkh (Afghanistan), 13th C.Details

Oillamp with Six Flames

Star-Shaped Deer-Tile, BC-4.161, Ceramic, Kashan (Iran), 13th C.Details

Star-shaped Deer-Tile

Rose-Water Blaster, BC-5.829, Bronze with Turquoise Inlays, (north-east) Afghanistan, 9/10th C.Details

Rose-Water Blaster

BOWL, BC-0.140, Ceramics, Nishapur (Iran), 10th-11th C.Details

Bull-headed Jug

Lampstand, BC-6.255, Bronze, Herat (Afghanistan), 11/12th C.Details


THE BUMILLER COLLECTION draws its art from the geographical region of the Silk Road that stretches from the Mediterranean Sea to China. Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and their surroundings determine this route. Objects from Syria, Egypt, and Moorish Spain complement the collection. Most of the collection’s artifacts are made of bronze, partially decorated with silver or copper inlays, completed by exhibits made of ceramic, glass, stone, ivory, and hemp paper. The collection’s emphasis is on the Early Islamic period (7th–13th century) and includes objects such as oil lamps, incense burners, cosmetic vessels, flacons, coins, lamp stands, writing utensils, mirrors, Qurans, medical instruments, jugs and padlocks.

THE BUMILLER COLLECTION reflects the emergence of a new style of art and artistic expression in the Early Islamic period, with origins that can be traced to the cultures of Quran in the Far East. Artistic as well as cultural tendencies and developments unfold for the attentive viewer – revealing the fascinating and mysterious oriental splendor and beauty of this era. The BUMILLER COLLECTION provides visitors, students, and scientists with a profound insight into the art of the Early Islamic period. The uniqueness and the cultural importance of every single object, as well as their mysterious beauty, animate the imagination of the viewer and invites him to daydream a while.

* In fact, the figurative depiction of all living creatures was prohibited.