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This is a Textile. It is dated 16th–17th century and we acquired it in 1902. Its medium is silk and its technique is compound satin. It is a part of the Textiles department.

This red-ground textile is decorated with zigzag rows of calligraphic inscriptions including Qur’anic verses, the shahada or Muslim profession of faith, and, in the central wide band, repeated cartouches with the names of the Prophet Muhammad and Allah. Large silks like this were commissioned every year by the Ottoman Sultan, who sent them to the sanctuaries of Mecca and Medina for the decoration of the Ka’ba and the tombs of the Prophet and his Companions. The red ground and inscriptions on this example suggest that it was once part of a decoration for the interior of the Ka’ba or perhaps a cover for the grave of the Prophet, and its wear pattern evokes the division and sale of used coverings, which were considered secondary relics, and reused as clothing, wall hangings, Qur’an covers, and tomb covers by the Ottomans.

This object was featured in our Object of the Week series in a post titled Sent by the Sultan.

This object was donated by John Pierpont Morgan. It is credited Gift of John Pierpont Morgan.

Our curators have highlighted 6 objects that are related to this one. Here are three of them, selected at random:

  • Tile
  • glazed, lustered and painted stonepaste, rolled and pierced silver (later mount).
  • Gift of Ruth Friedman in memory of Harry G. Friedman.
  • 1966-3-5-a/c
  • Fragment (Spain)
  • silk (red warp, white weft).
  • Gift of John Pierpont Morgan.
  • 1902-1-897
  • Fragment
  • silk, metallic.
  • Gift of John Pierpont Morgan.
  • 1902-1-384

Its dimensions are

H x W: 40.7 x 30.5 cm (16 x 12 in.)

It is inscribed

Cite this object as

Textile; silk; H x W: 40.7 x 30.5 cm (16 x 12 in.); Gift of John Pierpont Morgan; 1902-1-381

This image is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian’s Terms of Use page.

If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Textile |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=2 June 2023 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>