Ancient Mahmal on display at Dubai Mall
An ancient Damascene Mahmal is being displayed at the Dubai Mall Souk Atrium in Dubai from July 9 to August 15 2013. The 120 year old Mahmal is believed to have been used on a camel for transporting the black Kiswah fabric which covers the Holy Kaaba in Makkah.
Originally commissioned by Sultan Abdulhamid II of the Ottoman Empire who reigned from 1876 AD to 1909 AD as the 99th caliph of Islam and 34th Sultan of the Empire, the Mahmal’s tent-like shape is adorned with fine handcrafted and embroidered decoration made with heavy and elegant silver and gold thread calligraphy backed with red, green, and yellow silk.
The Kiswah is changed every year on the 9th of Dhul Hijjah, which is also the Day of Arafat - when Haj pilgrims leave for spending a day in the plains of Mount Arafat. The old Kiswah is removed and cut into small pieces and distributed among foreign dignitaries and important locals.
The Kiswah used to be manufactured in Egypt and was transported in a Mahmal with a large delegation of pilgrims.
The Damascene Mahmal on display at Dubai Mall has been brought to Dubai by the French designer, artist and modern and ancient art enthusiast, Alexandre J whose luxury fragrance brand of scents and perfumes are available in various stores across Dubai.
“This Mahmal is not just gorgeously crafted, but also has a historic and cultural significance that extends far beyond passing fads. The purpose of bringing this exquisite piece and displaying it at the Dubai Mall is to share a work of great beauty that also has religious connotations” said Alexandre J.
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