“The Path of Princes. Masterpieces of the Aga Khan Museum Collection” exhibition comprises works of Islamic art from the collection of the Aga Khan Museum, in Toronto, Canada. These works of art are a testimony of the great diversity of the cultural heritage and patrimony of Muslim civilisations, covering a wide geographical region extending from the Iberian Peninsula to China, over a thousand-year period of history, from the 9th to the 19th century.
The exhibition was organized into two main themes: “The Word of God” and “The Power of the Sovereign”, including a remarkable selection of miniature paintings, manuscripts, jewellery, ceramics, wood and metal objects among other artworks. First: “The Word of God”, presents Qur’ans from different periods of history, illustrating how the sacred text inspired works in both art and architecture. This section also explores themes such as devotion and spirituality, culminating with highlights on the theme of the garden, often equated with Paradise in the Qur’an. Second, “The Power of the Sovereign”, presents works of art from some of the major historical courts of the Islamic world, ranging from precious gold and rock crystal, objects produced for the Fatimids in the 10th and 11th centuries, to portraits of Ottoman sultans and Qajars shahs. This section concludes with references to the Path of Princes, in which aspects of medieval and early modern Islamic court life, ranging from education and learning to riding and hunting, from patronage and statesmanship to the enjoyment of literature and music, are explored through artworks including scientific texts, books of fables, miniatures paintings and drawings, albums of calligraphy, pen cases, stringed instruments, wood panels, tiles, ceramics and metalwork.