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Photographic views of Hajj, by Muhammad Sadiq Bey
London, United Kingdom
Khalili Family Trust – Hajj and the Arts of Pilgrimage Collection
Hegira 1297 / AD 1880
Albumin print, mounted on card
ARC.pp 211.4: 16.5x21.5cm; mounted: 23.5x32cm. ARC.pp 211.9: 11x16.5cm; mounted: 24x33.5cm
Shot in Mecca, probably printed in Egypt
Muhammad Sadiq Bey who was the first person to take photographs of Mecca, Medina and the Hajj. An Egyptian army engineer and surveyor, he was also the treasurer of the Egyptian Hajj caravan, travelling numerous times to the Hijaz. Using a technique first invented in the 1850s, Sadiq Bey took his first photographs in 1861 using glass plate negatives, especially useful for large-format frames. His photographs are often signed and dated in the negative. His most important photographs, of both the buildings and interior of the sanctuaries at Mecca and Medina, as well as sites at Arafat and Mina, were taken in 1880 and 1881. For the first time, the pilgrimage and the holy cities were precisely and realistically documented. Sadiq Bey’s photographic achievements were recognized by both the Arab and European world and in 1881 he won a gold medal at the Venice Geographical Exhibition. He published two important works: The Mash‘al al-Mahmal (The Torch of the Mahmal) in 1881, and Dalil al-Hajj (The Guide to the Hajj) in 1896, both of which included his photographs and observations of his journeys. Twelve of his photographs are in the Collection.
[arc.pp 211.9] A view of Medina showing the Bab al-Shami on the North side of the city. Built within the city’s stone wall, the large gateway was one of three that allowed access into the town. In the centre of the photograph is the green dome built above the tomb of the Prophet Muhammad.
[arc.pp 211.4] A view of the Ka‘ba surrounded by pilgrims performing the tawaf. The mizab (rainwater spout) is clearly discernable at the top of the Ka‘ba, whilst the Mosque of Bilal can be seen high upon the hilltop behind. The photograph is signed in and dated in Arabic, in the lower right hand corner.
Photograph signed and dated in the negative.
Acquired at Gros & Delettrez, Paris, 15 March 2017 lot 228
Sheehi, S., The Arab Imago: A Social History of Portrait Photography, 1860–1910, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2016.
Qaisra Khan "Photographic views of Hajj, by Muhammad Sadiq Bey" in Explore Islamic Art Collections. Museum With No Frontiers, 2022. https://islamicart.museumwnf.org/database_item.php?id=object;EPM;uk;Mus22;2;en
Prepared by: Qaisra Khan
MWNF Working Number: UK2 02