Thursday, March 22, 2012

Theft of two of the historic embroidered pieces of Al-Kaaba fabric

Al Ahram Weekly (Nevine el-Aref)

A poor comment on Egyptian museum security.

Last Wednesday, the people of Cairo woke up to a piece of bad news. Two 19th-century pieces of embroidered Al-Kaaba Kiswa (the Kaaba cloth) had been stolen from the Khedive Tawfik mausoleum in the eastern cemetery, the Qubbat Afandina.

The pieces, embroidered with calligraphy in gold and silver threads, were two of many that were sent over the years by the Egyptian monarchy to cover the Kaaba in Saudi Arabia. They were hanging on the walls of the mausoleum.

Each one consisted of three decorated coloured ribbons embroidered in gold and silver depicting verses of the poem Al-Sira Al-Mohamadeya (Biography of the Prophet Mohamed).

The thieves escaped and are now at large. Investigations are now underway to identify those responsible and bring them to justice.

There is no doubt that the theft involved a certain amount of negligence by authorities. Who, though, is to blame? 


Mitchel said...

What does this news have to do with Egyptology??

Bill Dilworth said...

There's a market for such readily identifiable pieces?

Andie said...

Hi Bill. I really don't know much about it. Some items get stolen to order of course, but wether these are a likely target I don't know.

Andie said...

Hi Mitchel. It depends on how you look at the subject. For one thing it suggests that museum security may still be a problem in Egypt (which certainly could impact items in Egyptology collections) but also many visitors are interested in Egyptian history beyond the Pharaonic. I don't put many post-Pharaonic items in, mainly because they don't often come my way, but when something occurs that I believe may be of interest I add it on the off-chance. I do the same with some general items about technology used in other parts of the world, which have not yet been used in Egypt but may be useful in the future.

Andie said...

Of course, the security of museums is one that is not confined to Egypt.