Description & Technical information

These two striking square pieces of Ottoman embroidery in heavily padded gold gilt thread on gold silk was most likely part of a pouch or purse, perhaps used during pilgrimages to Mecca and Medina. The high-quality design is ornamented with sequences, floral decorative elements in four corners, and Arabic inscriptions in the central medallion. The inscriptions express the Shahada (“The Testimony”) declaring belief in the oneness of God (tawhid) and the acceptance of Muhammad as God's prophet, which is one of the five pillars of Islam. The right fragment reads lā ʾilāha ʾillā llāh (“There is no god but Allah”) whilst the left fragment reads muḥammadun rasūlu llāh (“Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.”). The embroidery throughout is in the dival style, which was the major Ottoman embroidery style.[1]  
There is a similar Ottoman textile, but without Quranic inscriptions, on the covers of the Bayram Tahtı (“Festivity Throne”) which was used by the Ottoman sultans in the Topkapı Palace.[2]

Stock no.: A4630

Medium: Gold silk, Gold gilt
Dimensions: 18 x 18 cm (7¹/₈ x 7¹/₈ inches)
Literature: Footnotes 
1. Sumru Belger Krodt. 2000. Flowers of Silk & Gold: Four Centuries of Ottoman Embroidery. Washington D.C.: Merrell Publishers. p.42.   
2. See, Cengiz Köseoğlu. 1987. Topkapı: The Treasury, translated and edited by J.M. Rogers. London: Thames and Hudson. p. 61, ill.2