Prayer mat (Iran)

Qajar-period, Iranian prayer mat. Qajar-period, Iranian prayer mat. Copyright Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK, acc. no. 15-1877.

The collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London includes an Iranian, Qajar-period prayer mat. The mat measures 130 x 90 cm. The quilted mat has a yellow upper layer that is made of silk and cotton satin. It is decorated with silk thread using straight and running stitch (or back stitch?) and couching. The mat is padded and quilted with a cotton lining. The mat has a woven silk facing (edging).

The mat has the main design of an arch (recalling the mihrab), typical of a prayer mat or cloth. Inside the arch there is a roundel, which denotes its use by a Shi'ite Muslim. It is used to indicate the place for the small piece of earth from the holy Shi'ite site of Kerbela (now in Iraq), which is touched by the man or woman when carrying out the required prostations. 

V&A online catalogue (retrieved 12 August 2016).


Last modified on Saturday, 19 June 2021 17:28