Talismanic Shirt

Object Name: Shirt

Date: 15th–early 16th century

Geography: Attributed to Northern India or Deccan

Medium: Cotton, ink, gold; plain weave, painted

Dimensions: Textile: L. 25 in. (63.5 cm)
W. 38 3/4 in. (98.4 cm)
Mount: L. 25 in. (63.5 cm)
W. 38 3/4 in. (98.4 cm)

Classification: Textiles

Credit Line: Purchase, Friends of Islamic Art Gifts, 1998

Accession Number: 1998.199


This talismanic shirt was believed to be imbued with protective powers and may have been meant to be worn under armor in battle. Its surface is decorated with painted squares, medallions, and lappet-shaped sections with the entire Qur'an written inside; these areas are bordered by the ninety-nine names of God written in gold against an orange background. A panel at the center of the reverse contains a proclamation in gold script stating, "God is the Merciful, the Compassionate."