This Safavid silk cloth is part of a cloth which would have adorned a Shiite cenotaph in Iraq or Iran.

It bears an inscription which includes the date 1122 of the Hegira (equivalent 1710-11 AD), and thus dates from the reign of Shah Sultan Husayn Safavi (1694-1722), a ruler noted more for his piety than political acumen. The inscription in oval cartouches reads, 'Oh Imam Husain, the Martyr!' and refers to the prophets grandson who was martyred at the battle of Kerbala in Iraq in 680 AD. The inscription in the smaller cartouches reads 'Oh Mohammad!' referring to the Prophet. Both inscriptions are written in mirror image writing and are deliberately designed to look like faces.

Provenance

Mr Chatol; Bacri Brothers; Sam Fogg.


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