Sunday, 13 March 2011

Faith in the City - Medina

In celebration of a rare opportunity to watch an entire programme (Hidden Treasures of India, broadcast on Friday BBC2 at 9.00pm - check out iPlayer) devoted to textiles, this piece, mainly of Aari work is today's offering. In the programme it was suggested that this sort of work is no longer made commercially in Gujarat, but it's certainly still made in Mumbai.

Medina is the second most sacred city of Islam and it is located in the Hijaz Region of Saudi Arabia, 360 km north of Mecca. The Prophet Muhammad began his mission in Mecca in the year 609. After 13 years in Mecca he moved to Medina in order to escape the escalating hostility by the polytheists. The people of Medina welcomed him and presented him with land to build a house and a place of prayer, a mosque. After his death, he was buried in his house which was adjacent to the mosque. In subsequent years due to extension of the mosque his place of burial became enclosed in the mosque. The mosque is now know as 'Masjid-un-Nabi' or the Mosque of the Prophet.

Ayesha Dost took this picture of the Masjid-un-Nabi and other pieces to Mumbai, India, and a number of people embroidered them in traditional Indian stitches. Master craftsmen, whose families have been embroiderers for generations, teach young boys to embroider and this piece will have been done by several young lads at the same time, all working while seated in a circle.

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