Fragment from a tiraz
Hegira, last quarter of the 4th–first third of the 5th centuries / AD 10th–11th centuries
Linen embroidered with silk.
Oblong, length 55 cm x 24 cm
This beige-coloured linen fragment is decorated with two horizontal strips of calligraphy embroidered in green silk. The inscription is in kufic lettering with split uprights.
The beginning and end of both inscriptions are missing. In spite of its damaged condition, one can read in the first line; 'May the blessing of God fall on Muhammad the highest of all prophets and on his good and pious ancestors.'
On the second line is written; '(There is no other divinity) than God in his oneness and may blessings fall on Muhammad the highest of all prophets.'
The tiraz was made using a weaving technique typical of the Egyptian textile industry up to the end of the Fatimid era. Its texture indicates that it was probably part of a caliph's turban. It appears to have been made in a private workshop (tiraz al-khassa), reserved for the caliph and government dignitaries, rather than in a popular workshop (tiraz al-amma). The workshop would have been in the Nile Delta area, one that specialised in linen, and which was probably located in Alexandria, Damiette, Tinnis or Dabiq.
Fragment of beige linen from a tiraz made using a needlework technique employed in the Egyptian textile industry during the Fatimid period. The texture of the tiraz suggests that it was made in a workshop reserved for use by the caliph and the important dignitaries of the regime.
Comparison with other similar pieces of cloth with identical inscriptions referring to the family and good, pious ancestors of the Prophet shows that this piece belonged to an Egyptian Fatimid caliph. The absence of exuberant decoration combining geometric, floral and animal motifs would place the date between the last quarter of the 4th and the first third of the 5th century / 10th–11th century.
The tiraz was bought in 1958 by the late H. H. Abdelwahab, former Director of the National Institute of Art and Archaeology, from an Egyptian antique dealer. He then donated it to the Ribat Museum at Monastir.
The weaving method and the ownership by a Fatimid caliph both indicate that the cloth was made in Egypt.
Mourad Rammah "Fragment from a tiraz" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2018. http://www.discoverislamicart.org/database_item.php?id=object;ISL;tn;Mus01_B;50;en
Prepared by: Mourad RammahMourad Rammah
Né en 1953 à Kairouan, docteur en archéologie islamique, Mourad Rammah est le conservateur de la médina de Kairouan. Lauréat du prix Agha Khan d'architecture, il publie divers articles sur l'histoire de l'archéologie médiévale islamique en Tunisie et participe à différentes expositions sur l'architecture islamique. De 1982 à 1994, il est en charge du département de muséographie du Centre des arts et des civilisations islamiques. Mourad Rammah est également directeur du Centre des manuscrits de Kairouan.
Copyedited by: Margot Cortez
Translation by: David Ash
Translation copyedited by: Mandi Gomez
MWNF Working Number: TN 78