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Imam Hossein Shrine Rug

Imam Hossein Shrine Rug

  • Number pon71

  • Material Wool

  • Style Prayer Rug

  • Type Tribal

  • Origin Arab

  • Size 193 x 127

  • Age 1900


A unique and frankly puzzling woven artwork. The only certainty is that it was not commercially made and that it has a clear religious theme. It is entirely bichromatic without any dye materials: a field of undyed white sheep's wool and rows and rows of Arabic calligraphy in undyed black sheep's wool.

The text consists of a lengthy prayer to the souls of the martyred Imam Hossein and his family. It reads out like what is called a "ziyarat" prayer, one recited when visiting the holy shrine in Karbala where he is buried.

As such this is an important and unique work of art with tremendous religious and socio-cultural value. Provenance is quite hard to establish. It isn't a Persian rug and the weave is closer to Anatolian habits. However the familiarity with Arabic script suggests this may be a Bedouin rug from Syria or Iraq و الله اعلم

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