© FBQ Museum © FBQ Museum

This item has been added to the Database within the Explore Islamic Art Collections project. Information is available in: English, Arabic.

Name of Object:

Kaaba Kiswah (Covering)


Shahaniya, Qatar

Holding Museum:

FBQ Museum

About FBQ Museum, Shahaniya

Date of Object:


Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Silk, cotton, gold, silver; embroidery


Length: 582cm, Width: 290cm

Place of production:



Mecca, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia


Prior to Islam, regional tribes competed to cloak the Kaaba, a religious sanctuary. Every year on the ninth day of the Pilgrimage month, a new Kiswah (covering) reveals the Kaaba’s new face in a ceremony while concealing the building’s appearance. Sewn by Egyptian craftsman in 1910, this fragment of the Kiswah to the Kaaba in Saudi Arabia represents the curtain covering an architectural door adorned with calligraphy. A generous 220 kilograms of gold and silver embroider the 670 kilograms of black-dyed silk. The year-long manufacture, considered a religious duty, requires precision and laborious processes to create a fitted garment that can withstand the hot sun. Egyptian rural production centres produced the Kiswah for centuries. Today, modern media helps witness the production and ritual replacement worldwide with livestream coverage.

How date and origin were established:

The date and commissioner are embroidered onto the Kiwa.

How Object was obtained:


How provenance was established:

The Kiswa covers the Kaaba in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

Selected bibliography:

Alashari, D. M., Hamzah, A. R., and Marni, N., "The Aesthetics and Greatness of the Kiswah of the Kaaba in the Saudi Era", Umran-International Journal of Islamic and Civilizational Studies, 8 : 1 (2021).
Alhazmi, N. H., Maintenance as Spectacle: Imagery of the Ka’ba’s Cleaning and Kiswa, Doctoral dissertation, Ohio University, 2021.

Citation of this web page:

Sarah Schroeder "Kaaba Kiswah (Covering)" in Explore Islamic Art Collections. Museum With No Frontiers, 2023. https://islamicart.museumwnf.org/database_item.php?id=object;EPM;qt;Mus22;15;en

Prepared by: Sarah Schroeder
Copyedited by: Valerie Pulsifer

MWNF Working Number: QT2 15


 Artistic Introduction

On display in

MWNF Galleries

Religious life Textiles


As PDF (including images) As Word (text only)