News: Why Did Vikings Have ‘Allah’ Woven into Funeral Clothes?

Researchers in Sweden have found Arabic characters woven into burial garments from Viking boat graves. The discovery raises new questions about the influence of Islam in Scandinavia.

The clothing was kept in storage for more than 100 years, dismissed as typical examples of Viking Age funeral clothes. But a new investigation into the garments – found in ninth and tenth-century graves – has thrown up groundbreaking insights into contact between the Viking and Muslim worlds. Patterns woven with silk and silver thread have been found to spell the words ‘Allah’ and ‘Ali’.

The breakthrough was made by textile archaeologist Annika Larsson of Uppsala University while re-examining the remnants of burial dress from male and female boat and chamber graves originally excavated in Birka and Gamla Uppsala in Sweden in the late nineteenth and mid-twentieth centuries.

To read about this discovery in full, visit the BBC website.

 

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Exhibition: Woven Paradise – A Journey through the Anatolian Textile Craft of the 18th and 19th Centuries

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Exhibition dates: 23 October – 3 December 2016

Collector Martin Posth, author of Collected Beauty, a highly respected book on Anatolian rugs and kilims published in 2014, is presenting a selection from his extensive collection in an exhibition at Berlin’s Studio Bumiller. Forty-three Anatolian rugs and thirteen kilims from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries will be shown at the exhibition entitled, Woven Paradise: A Journey through the Anatolian Textile Craft of the 18th and 19th Centuries.

The exhibition highlights the centuries-old history of carpet knotting and the influence that diverse cultures have had on the Turkish-Anatolian region. At the same time, it offers an overview of the different types of Anatolian rugs and kilims, introducing the viewer to their world of colour, ornamentation, variety of design and symbolism. The exhibition displays prayer rugs and nomadic rugs, funeral rugs, rugs from Anatolia’s Christian communities, and full-pile carpets that served as beds.

The bridging of Islam and the followers of other faiths (Christians and Jews, Armenians and Kurds) is a hallmark of the Ottoman Empire, and with this in mind, the exhibition aims to promote, and contribute to, a constructive exchange between cultures. ‘The exhibition can help facilitate a better understanding of our fellow citizens of Islamic heritage, thereby allowing us to encounter them more respectfully’, says Martin Posth.

The exhibition is accompanied by a comprehensive and high quality catalogue, presented both in German and English: Woven Paradise – A Journey through the Anatolian Textile Craft of the 18th and 19th Centuries, self-published by Dr. Martin Posth.

For more information, visit the website of Studio Bumiller, Berlin, Germany.