About the work

curationist logoCurationist Object Description
Created in Turkey, this cenotaph cover dates back to the 17th-18th century. It is adorned with Qur'anic verses and Islam’s Shahada, "There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his prophet," placed within a chevron (zig-zag) pattern and set against an oxblood background.

Attributed to the Ottoman Empire, it was likely ​​used to dress a sanduka (a coffin-shaped stone) in honor of an important person. The work resembles many cenotaph covers from this period, which were frequently designed with chevron patterns and holy scripture. Geometric patterns as well religious inscriptions are meant to guide viewers in their worship.

Walters Art Museum Object Description

This cenotaph cover bears calligraphic Qur'anic verses and the shahada of Islam: "There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his prophet." It would have been used as a cover for a sanduka, a coffin-shaped stone indicating the burial place of an important person. The chevron (zigzag) design was frequently used on kiswa covers commissioned by Ottoman sultans and sent to Mecca every year to adorn the Ka"ba. A square building located in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the Ka"ba, which means cube in Arabic, is elegantly draped in a silk and cotton veil and is the holiest shrine in Islam.

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