Sitara, Interior Door Curtain of the Ka'ba

Patron Sultan Abdülhamid II Ottoman Turkish
Workshop of Warshat al-Khurunfish Egyptian

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 454

This Sitara is a very rare example of a curtain that once hung inside the Bab al-Tawba (Door of Repentance) of the Ka‘ba, the structure in Mecca that Muslims believe is the house of God on earth. The Ottoman sultan’s name, Abdülhamid II, who had the imperial prerogative of ordering the replacement of textiles for the Ka‘ba, appears in the fifth line beneath four qur’anic cartouches. A medallion-like calligraphic composition in the center of the lower half contains the name and titles of ‘Abbas Hilmi Pasha, seeking with this offering blessing for him and his family.

Such a centralized design emphasizes the political prominence of the local ruler of Egypt, who oversaw production of the textile at the Warshat al-Khurunfish in Cairo and its transportation during the hajj.

Sitara, Interior Door Curtain of the Ka'ba, Sultan Abdülhamid II (r. 1876–1909), Silk; embroidered with heavy silver and silver-gilt thread with additional colored silk panels

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