Astan Quds Razavi Complex
The largest endowment museum of Iran is Astan Quds Razavi Complex in Mashhad. This complex has been constituted based upon the endowment items and objects used in Imam Reza Holly Shrine. The decision for constructing such a museum was made in time of trusteeship of Fath ol-Allah Pakravan and the design and pattern of Museum prepared by Andre Godard (the director of the archeological department in France). The building operations was started on Azar (December), 1316 S.H, in a land with 5700m2 area located behind the southern wall of Ali Naqi Mirza school and Sahn-e no (New Yard), in the east of Goharshad Mosque, near to Sheikh Bahaie tombstone. It was opened in 1324 S.H. as a three-storey construction including one basement and two upper floors with 1034m2 built-up area made of brick and reinforced concrete. Currently, the complex of Astan Quds has four main buildings and the museums are as following: carpet museum, Quran and manuscripts museum, Ostad Farshchian museum, samovar museum, trough museum, the historical treasury of holy shrine, stamp collection, clock collection, pottery collection, coin collection, alter collection, aquatic collection and ethnography museum all are introduced separately in what follows. Totally, the complex is one of the most valuable museums all around the world due to having religious, historic, cultural and artistic works.
The first museum of Astan Quds Razavi in Mashhad which was established in 1324 S.H, inside Imam Khomeini Yard is Quran Museum. The collection includes the treasure of Quran and holy objects which is extremely invaluable because of the existence of Sahifeh and five holly Qurans belonged to Imam Ali, Imam Hasan, Imam Hossain, Imam Sajjad and Imam Reza, peace be upon them.
The Treasure of Supreme Leader Gifts
The most important donator of museum objects and manuscripts to Astan Quds is the Supreme Leader of Islamic Revolution of Iran. Many famous foreign and Iranian individuals, artists and enthusiasts of the Islamic Republic of Iran present different artworks and precious objects to the leader and he, in turn, gifts them to the holy shrine of Imam Reza.
Carpet and Textile Treasure
Currently, there are approximately 100 carpets and rugs kept in the museum which are among the most valuable masterpieces from Safavid until now.
Clock and Astrology Treasure
The treasure of sun clock in the museum of Astan Quds Razavi includes sun and tropical clocks, sun clock and calendar, vertical and horizontal sun clocks, triangular and polarized balls, sun clock with metal balls and other kinds of sun clocks.
Weapons and Medals Treasure
There are 33 medals along with the cold and warm weapons on display in this treasure.
Stamp, Bill and Coin Treasure
A unique collection of coins belonged to pre-Islamic and Islamic periods and medals gifted by the scientific and athletic characters like Golamreza Takhti are displayed here in this treasure.
History of Mashhad Treasure
The objects on display in this hall are extremely invaluable because of their originality based on the exact date of creation, name of the creator, and the provenance. Most of these works have been gifted by pilgrims.
Shell and Snail Treasure
The treasure of aquatic is divided into two parts: Mollusks and taxidermy marine creatures. There are 400 pieces of shell and snail in the first section and several pieces of mummified fish, eagle rays, electric eel, shark, shrimp, baby crocodile, turtle, starfish, sponge and coral on display in the second hall.
Visual Art and Artefacts Treasure
This collection is located in the second floor of the central building where you can see the valuable artworks by the most important Iranian and European artists in different styles. For example, four paintings by Kamal ol-Molk, the famous painter of Qajar period, are kept here naming Ashraf ol-Belad (literary means the best land which refers to the current Behshahr in the north of Iran), the Bridge of Tajan River, Landscape of Pul Village and Shilat River of Farah Abad in Mazandaran are on display to the public in this hall. The treasure of artifacts, also, includes several potteries, glass and metal wares. The potteries are related to a wide time span beginning from the iron age so that one can follow the historical development of pottery making during the early Islamic period, and under the rules of Ghaznavid, Seljuk, Safavid and Qajar. A main part of this collection has been gifted to Astan Quds Razavi Complex and another part found in the surrounding area’s excavations.
Ostad Farshchian Treasure
In addition, there are many artworks by Mahmoud Farshchian gifted to the museum by himself and they are currently on display in the treasure of his works. interesting among them are The Evening of Ashura, Shelter, Prayer, the First Inspiration, Kosar and the Guarantor of the Ghazel.