Not currently on display at the V&A

Tomb Cover

17th century (made)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

Silks with zigzag designs on a green ground were made as a cover for the Prophet Muhammad’s tomb in Medina. The designs of these silks changed gradually over time. This is a later example. On it, the plain bands between the zigzags have the name of God above the name of Muhammad at every angle.

Caring for the Prophet’s tomb was a notable honour. When the Ottoman dynasty ruled Medina (1517–1916), special textiles were made to cover his tomb. Similar textiles were sent to decorate the stone shrine known as the Ka’bah in Mecca. Contact with the holy places imbued these covers with ‘barakah’ or divine grace. When the covers were renewed, pieces were preserved as relics.

Object details

Categories
Object type
Materials and techniques
Silk thread in lampas weave
Brief description
Length of silk from the cover of the Prophet's tomb in Medina, Turkey (probably Bursa), 1600-1700.
Physical description
Woven silk textile (lampas weave) with a striking design of calligraphic inscriptions in zigzag bands. The religious inscriptions are executed in a cursive script in yellow, red, and white on a green ground. The inscriptions on the wide bands alternate, and, separated by narrow bands of dense inscription.
Dimensions
  • Length: 322.5cm
  • Width: 81.5cm
plus roller
Style
Marks and inscriptions
Gallery label
Jameel Gallery Length of Silk from the Cover of the Prophet's Tomb Turkey, probably Bursa 1600-1700 The designs of these silks changed gradually over time. This is a later example from the tomb of Muhammad. On it, the plain bands between the zigzags have the name of God above the name of Muhammad at every angle. Silk thread in lampas weave Museum no. 781-1892(2006-2012)
Object history
The design of this textile is that traditionally used for tomb covers.
Summary
Silks with zigzag designs on a green ground were made as a cover for the Prophet Muhammad’s tomb in Medina. The designs of these silks changed gradually over time. This is a later example. On it, the plain bands between the zigzags have the name of God above the name of Muhammad at every angle.

Caring for the Prophet’s tomb was a notable honour. When the Ottoman dynasty ruled Medina (1517–1916), special textiles were made to cover his tomb. Similar textiles were sent to decorate the stone shrine known as the Ka’bah in Mecca. Contact with the holy places imbued these covers with ‘barakah’ or divine grace. When the covers were renewed, pieces were preserved as relics.
Bibliographic references
  • Ipek, Dr. Selin, Dressing the Prophet. Textiles from the Haramayn. Hali. Summer 2011, Issue 168
  • Tim Stanley (ed.), with Mariam Rosser-Owen and Stephen Vernoit, Palace and Mosque: Islamic Art from the Middle East, London, V&A Publications, 2004
Collection
Accession number
781-1892

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Record createdFebruary 21, 2004
Record URL
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