One of the most sacred of Islamic artifacts is currently on display in the Dubai Mall.
The Sitara which once guarded the door of the Ka’ba – the final destination of Muslim pilgrims making the journey of faith to Mecca – is on show until August 13 in the Bloomingdales Atrium
It is lavishly embroidered with a complex pattern of panels, roundels and other devices inscribed with quotations and prayers from the Qur’an.
Along with the rest of the Ka’ba’s external coverings, the Sitara is replaced every year before the Hajj.
For many centuries the textiles that covered the Ka’ba in the form of an external curtain were made in Egypt and carried in procession to Mecca. This custom was associated with the status of the rulers of Egypt who governed the Hijaz, the region where Mecca lies, and held the title of Servant of the Two Noble Sanctuaries.
The Sitara on display was commissioned by the Ottoman Sultan Selim III in 1804 and is the last surviving example of the colourful designs of the time. Its elaborate style was followed by a more conservative approach following the accession of Mahmud II to the throne in 1808.