The Nasser D Khalili Collection
About the collection
Video interview
Khalili Collection

The Khalili collection is on loan from Dr Nasser David Khalili, an Iranian-born private collector.

Khalili’s passion is not the collection of art for the sake of its material value, but for the purpose of promoting understanding between cultures across the world, particularly areas whose cultures may be less familiar to the rest of the world; his collection of Islamic art aims to promote a greater awareness of the wide artistic achievements Islamic culture has provided in the realm of art. A Jew himself, and an avid patron and founder of charitable foundations, this desire to promote cross-cultural understanding is reflected in the founding of the Maimonides Foundation Trust, which aims to encourage and promote peace and understanding between Muslims and Jews.

Crowned head Central Asia, 8th/9th century
Spittoon India, Rajasthan, c1700
Khalili Collection

From a family of art collectors, collecting art has been his passion since childhood; he has over the last 30 years amassed the largest privately owned collection of Islamic art in the world, of which he holds approximately 20 000 pieces. Having completed a PhD in Islamic lacquerware at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, he is an eminent scholar himself, holding chairs and Professorships in various universities. The collection has sparked an increasing interest in the field of Islamic art, and some of the world’s most eminent scholars are working on the cataloguing of his collections.

Flask Iran or Egypt, 10th or 11th century
Silver-gilt filigree cabinet
Goa, 17th century
Khalili Collection