Name of Object:

Prayer rug


Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom

Holding Museum:

St. Mungo Museum for Religious Life and Art, Glasgow Museums

About St. Mungo Museum for Religious Life and Art, Glasgow Museums, Glasgow

Date of Object:

Hegira 13th century / AD 19th century

Museum Inventory Number:

BC 9.45

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Wool (warp and weft and pile) with cotton in parts; woven on a handloom.


Length 183 cm, width 119 cm

Period / Dynasty:



Gördes, Anatolia, Turkey.


A rug produced by peasant weavers in Ghiordes, Anatolia, famous for their tightly woven work with a short, silky wool pile. Ghiordes was one of the major carpet-making centres during the AH 13th / AD 19th century and both the design and colour scheme of this rug, a deep-blue niche framed with elaborate spandrels and borders, is typical of Ghiordes rugs. The niche confirms that this is a prayer rug, used to provide a ritually clean place for the five daily prayers. The niche reflects the mihrab or prayer niche in an Islamic mosque, indicating the direction to Mecca, towards which Muslims turn in prayer. It may also symbolise the gateway to Paradise. The ornament suspended in its apex may have a spiritual meaning.

View Short Description

Every household in Ghiordes, Anatolia, had a handloom for the womenfolk and girls to weave small carpets and prayer rugs on. This prayer rug is decorated with an elaborate central niche reminiscent of the architectural prayer niche found in Anatolian mosques.

How date and origin were established:

Artistic analysis: both the layout and weave of this rug resemble several other 13th- / 19th-century prayer rugs of this type, attributed to Ghiordes in Anatolian Turkey in particular.

How Object was obtained:

Part of the collection given to the City of Glasgow by Sir William and Lady Burrell in 1944.

Selected bibliography:

Bennett, I., Rugs and Carpets of the World, London, 1977.

Scarce, J. M., 'Oriental Carpets: The Burrell Collection', Arts of Asia, May–June 1990, p.136.

Citation of this web page:

Noorah Al-Gailani "Prayer rug" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2020.;ISL;uk;Mus04;48;en

Prepared by: Noorah Al-GailaniNoorah Al-Gailani

Noorah Al-Gailani is Curator for Islamic Civilisations at Glasgow Museums, Scotland. With a BA in Interior Design from the College of Fine Arts, Baghdad University and three years' experience in design and folk art preservation, she moved to the UK in 1992. On completing her MA in Museum Studies at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London in 1994, she worked as Project Officer at the Grange Museum of Community History documenting the presence of Muslim communities in the London Borough of Brent. In 1995 she was Assistant Curator, Ancient Monuments Laboratory, English Heritage, and in 1996 became Curator for John Wesley's House and the Museum of Methodism in London. She co-authored The Islamic Year: Surahs, Stories and Celebrations (Stroud: Hawthorn Press, 2002) for non-Muslim children. Since 2003 she has been based at The Burrell Collection in Glasgow, working across the city's museums to interpret Islamic art and culture, ancient and modern, through research, exhibitions and educational activities.

Copyedited by: Mandi Gomez

MWNF Working Number: UK4 61


 Artistic Introduction

 Timeline for this item

Islamic Dynasties / Period


On display in

MWNF Galleries

Carpets Religious life

See also

Virtual Visit Exhibition Trail

EARLY OTTOMAN ART - Legacy of the Emirates


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