Location: Cairo, Egypt

Materials: mahmal cover (sitr), finial and side banners of black silk with coloured silk appliqués, embroidered in silver and silver-gilt wire over cotton thread padding; five silver finials

Dimensions: 350 (approximate height, as assembled) x 135 x 100cm

Accession Number: TXT 469


Unlike the other textiles sent to Mecca and Medina, the cover for the mahmal was not changed annually, but was re-used over several years. Following the return of the caravan of pilgrims, the mahmal would be sent back to Dar al-Kiswah where any repairs that were necessary were made. It was then stored until it was time for it to accompany the caravan back to the Hijaz the following year.
This cover for the mahmal was commissioned originally by the Ottoman Sultan Mahmud II (r. 1808–1839), as embroidered inscriptions on two sides of the pyramidal roof declare. The inscriptions on the remaining sides mention that it was renovated and re-used by the Egyptian Khedive, Isma‘il Pasha (r. 1867–1879).
For the mahmal in general and other mahmals in the Collection, see TXT 442.