Highlights Gallery

Transmitting Blessings

With the establishment of the Safavid dynasty in 1501, Shi’ism became Iran’s official religion. Reverence for the Prophet Muhammad’s descendants as his legitimate heirs was reinforced in all media, including textiles. The large green cartouches of this cover as well as the narrower bands in black repeat invocations in Persian to the Prophet’s grandson, Imam Husayn, and his martyrdom at Karbala in 680 CE. Both the darker and the red bands are inscribed with the first verse of the forty-eighth chapter of the Qu’ran, al-Fath (The Victory). Intended to affirm Shi’i affiliations, such textiles were used in Iran and were also sent abroad to important Shi’i shrines.

Textile with inscriptions
Iran, Safavid period, ca. 1700
Silk and metal threads
Museum of Islamic Art, Doha

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