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Art and Design in the MKG

From antique porcelain to modern designer furniture: The Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe (MKG) is one of the most important European art and design museums. The exceptional and diverse collection offers visitors a unique perspective of 4000 years of creativity in Europe and beyond – the collection includes beautiful Islamic and Asian artefacts as well.

The MKG boasts an impressive permanent collection of more than 500,000 objects, from crafts to designer furniture, and from graphic art to photography. The museum offers a fresh perspective on design and highlights the artistic element in everyday objects – even those that were not intended as art. Admire antique keyboard instruments such as harpsichords and spinets, beautifully decorated oriental carpets and a Japanese tea house, including the tea ritual. The museum also hosts very popular temporary exhibits.

The MKG is located behind the port
The MKG is located behind the port

Hamburg

Egyptian sarcophagi

Beautifully decorated Etruscan vases and a silver folding mirror from Sicily are just a few examples of the collection of antique art with more than 5500 objects from the Near East, Egypt, Greece and Rome. Some objects are 4000 years old. Visitors can marvel at jewellery from the Bronze Age and amulets and sarcophagi from ancient Egypt. The exhibit also gives a lot of information about ancient civilisations. For example, learn more about the drinking culture of women in Ancient Greece.

Ancient Rome

From utensil to art

What is the beauty in an electric tea pot, a sofa bed or an MP3 player? The exhibit about design places everyday objects on a pedestal and presents them as art. This is one of the most famous collections of the MKG: explore 200 years of design history. See the development of design – from industrialisation, mass production and art deco to exclusive contemporary showpieces. And of course this exhibit is a never ending story as there is always room for new innovative designs.

Everyday objects as art

Precious Oriental rugs

The collection of Islamic art contains valuable objects such as two 16th-century manuscripts - one decorated with gold leaf and silver, and the other a collection of poems by Sultan Süleyman the Great. Also interesting is the display of 14th-century mosaic tiles from Uzbekistan which once adorned the mausoleum of ruler Bayan Qulï. The highlight of the collection is the royal carpet from Persia, today’s Iran: half of this 16th-century masterpiece was thought to be lost until it was found by the MKG. In 2011 it was added to the other half in the collection.

The beauty and opulence of the MKG

Photo credits

  • Ancient Rome: Tobias Wille
  • Everyday objects as art: Michael Bernhardi
  • The beauty and opulence of the MKG: Marcelo Hernandez