🌟 The historical Ceremony of the Mahmal 🕋

This rare tray depicts the historic ceremony of the #Mahmal.
The Mahmal ceremony is the loading of the #Kaaba covers on the backs of #camels.
The journey across the desert runs from #Cairo, where the #sitaras were historically made by master #artisans at a workshop dedicated to producing textiles for #Mecca until 1926, towards #Mecca.

The sitaras that cover the Kaaba are replaced yearly on the occasion of #EidElAdha

It was that caravan from Cairo which ignited the imagination of so many European observers: ‘Seven thousand souls on foot, on horseback, in litters, or bestriding the splendid camels of Syria’, explorer and polymath Richard Burton observed.

From the 13th century until the mid-20th century, the Egyptian caravan was demarcated with the Mahmal: a wooden palanquin covered with beautifully decorated #textile which balanced upon an equally decorated (and pampered) camel. As well as being a beacon of colour and a symbol of anticipated blessings, the Mahmal was primarily a symbol of political sovereignty.
The Mahmal was paraded through the streets of Cairo with the textiles that were being sent to Mecca, before leaving the city with great pomp and celebration; well-wishers would touch it to obtain blessings, whilst others would revel in the sight itself

Silver and three colored brass tray. Ottoman period. Syria or Egypt. Mamlouk revival technique