University of Bamberg Museum of Islamic Art
Walking the picturesque streets of the old city of Bamberg, you would hardly guess that one of the largest collections worldwide of Islamic metalwork is housed behind the walls of Austrasse 29. Metalwork from eastern Iran (Khurasan) from the 6th to 13th centuries form the core of the collection, which comprises c. 7000 objects including ceramics, glass, woodwork and manuscripts.
The collection was brought together by Manfred Bumiller (1928-2018). As a businessman (university diploma 1952; diploma in economics 1953; self-employed tax counsellor from 1958 onwards) he did not have a background in the history of Islamic Art. When he started collecting in the early 1980s, he began to build his own expertise in the field of metalwork from the region of eastern Iran, with a focus on the pre-Mongol periods.
The first three objects to lay the foundation for the present rich collection were a brass bowl with a hunting scene, a steel bowl with gold inlays and a lion-shaped incense burner.
The steady growth of the collection made it necessary to find a place where it could be properly exhibited. The choice fell on Bamberg also because the University with its Institute of Oriental Studies made it possible to cooperate closely with academia. For its unusual size, the collection offers a unique possibility to study the particular field of Islamic metalwork.
The historic house at Austrasse 29, at the heart of the UNESCO world heritage old city of Bamberg, offered the possibility to exhibit the collection as a museum. The house, going back to the late Middle Ages, was splendidly restored. At its opening on 13 January 1995, the museum was named „The Bumiller Collection of Early Islamic Art“.
The museum occupies two storeys of the house Austrasse 29 and one level of Austrasse 27, both interconnected on the 2nd floor. Further spaces serve as a depot. The collection is owned by the Bumiller Art Foundation (registered charity).
From the beginning, the Bumiller Collection had been open for research and teaching. Since 2008, an agreement between the Foundation and the University regulates scholarly use of the collection and academic support for the museum, which enjoys the privilege to be named “Universitätsmuseum für Islamische Kunst” (“University of Bamberg Museum of Islamic Art”).
The Museum is active publishing parts of its collections through its own publication series. For further information, see the homepage of the Museum.
Contact and Information
Universitätsmuseum für Islamische Kunst
Austraße 29 (access from Hasengasse)
Tel. (+49) 951-2 59 54