On May 10, Sotheby’s is auctioning material from the Dar al-Kiswah. Between 1818 and 1961, the Cairo workshop was responsible for making the black cloth (kiswah) that adorns the Ka’bah. In 1961 production moved to Saudi Arabia, and now Sotheby’s is selling embroidery templates and archival documents from the workshop in their Travel, Atlases, Maps and Natural History sale. It also contains material related to the Mahmal, the empty camel litter that accompanied pilgrimages in place of the ruler, and photographs by the royal court photographer. The collection is expected to sell for 60,000 – 80,000 GBP, coming in behind only a 1570 Bertelli map of the world.
Other items in the sale include an edition of Muhammad Sadiq Bey’s Mash’al al-Mamal (The Torch of Mahmal) printed in 1880/1881 and an albumen print of the Ka’bah by Abdul Ghaffar, also from the 1880s.
Via Islamic Arts.