black silk, with red silk appliqués, heavily embroidered in silver and silver-gilt wire over cotton thread padding

195 x 187cm

The pendentives Ottoman mosques were often decorated with roundels bearing the names of God, Muhammad, the four Orthodox caliphs and sometimes the names of Hasan and Husayn, all with appropriate prayers. Most are of tilework or painted wood [see MXD 265], and this embroidered set appears to be unique.

These six roundels were made as a set, with the Qur’anic text, from surah al-Fath (XLVIII), verses 1 – 11, divided between them. The signature cartouche of Sultan Mahmud II, present in the borders, suggests that he was responsible for the calligraphy. The technique of embroidery in finely-drawn wire is the same as that used for the textiles made for Mecca and Medina, but here the main inscriptions are in exceptionally high relief of some 2.5cm. 

Inscriptions:

  • TXT 430, in the centre, the name of God; in the border, Qur’an surah al-Fath (XLVIII), verses 1 – mid 4, and the signature cartouche of sultan Mahmud II
  • TXT 431, in the centre, the name of Muhammad; in the border, Qur’an surah al-Fath (XLVIII), verses 4, end – 5, and the signature cartouche of sultan Mahmud II
  • TXT 432, in the centre, the name of Abu Bakr; in the border, Qur’an surah al-Fath (XLVIII), verse 6, and the signature cartouche of sultan Mahmud II
  • TXT 433, in the centre, the name of ‘Umar; in the border, Qur’an surah al-Fath (XLVIII), verses 7 – 9, and the signature cartouche of sultan Mahmud II
  • TXT 434, in the centre, the name of ‘Uthman; in the border, Qur’an surah al-Fath (XLVIII), verse 10, and the signature cartouche of sultan Mahmud II
  • TXT 435, in the centre, the name of ‘Ali; in the border Qur’an surah al-Fath (XLVIII), verse 11, and the signature cartouche of sultan Mahmud II.