From Mecca to Toronto
A Century-Old Artifact from Islam’s Holiest Mosque


June 1–November 17, 2019
FREE VIEWING: June 1–6 & August 10–14 (closed Mondays)


On display for the first time in Toronto is a 100-year-old silk fragment from a hizam — part of a ceremonial draping that covers the Ka’ba inside the Great Mosque in Mecca, Islam’s most spiritually important site.


Every year millions of Muslims make a pilgrimage to the Great Mosque, at the centre of which stands a square building called the Ka’ba. The Ka’ba is draped in a black ceremonial covering known as the kiswa, and around the upper part of the kiswa runs the hizam — an ornamented belt embroidered with Qur’anic verses relating to the pilgrimage.


This hizam — one of the Museum’s most significant textiles — is on special display as part of our Museum Collection’s spring rotation. Embroidered in silver and silver-gilt thread, and measuring eight metres long and nearly one metre tall, it once belonged to a kiswa that measured 47 meters and was made in Cairo around the early 20th century.


In celebration of Eid-al-Fitr you can view the hizam for free from June 1 to 6, and to celebrate Eid-al-Adha, we will also offer free access from August 10 to 14 (excluding Mondays, when the Museum is closed).


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