Exhibitions/ Art Object

Order for Veils or Handkerchiefs

8th century
Made in Egypt
Black ink on papyrus
9 1/2 x 7 11/16 in. (24.2 x 19.5 cm)
Credit Line:
Papyrus Collection, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (P.Mich.inv. 5621)
Not on view
Ostraka (pottery or stone fragments with writing) and papyri aid in understanding aspects of textile production in Egypt. Kalim, a weaver, writes to his client ‘Abd Allah ibn As‘ad, a merchant, regarding the progress on his order for veils. The text is in Arabic and the prices are given in dinars, evidence of the increasing control over commerce by the new Muslim rulers of the region.
Inscription: In Arabic, recto: (1.) In the name of God the Compassionate, the Merciful. (2.) To 'Abd Allah b. As'ad from Kalim. Peace be upon you and I praise (3.) for you God besides Whom there is no god but He. (4.) Further, I want to let you know our news, namely that we are healthy and well (5.) and our Lord be praised. You ordered me to weave you (6.) veils. And I have already woven them except one. (7.) And if you want them, then send me for a dinar good riyat and (8.) if not then write me clarifying this and I will send them to you. (9.) And . . . I have woven all of them, I will send them with it. (10.) And send me immediately for a dinar riyat. (11.) And peace be upon you and God's mercy and 'Ayshah sends (12.) you many greetings. verso: ;To 'Abd Allah b. As'ad from Kalim
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition (7th–9th Century)," March 12, 2012–July 8, 2012.