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Hajj and The Arts of Pilgrimage, The Nasser D. Khalili Collection

The Nasser D. Khalili collection of Hajj and The Arts of Pilgrimage is remarkable, it contains approximately 5000 objects, covering all aspects of Hajj, from the eighth to the twenty-first centuries and geographically from China to India and around the globe to Morocco and the United Kingdom. The collection includes more than 300 textiles, and many other related objects associated with Mecca and Medina - combined, it is the largest of its type outside the Topkapi Palace Museum in Istanbul.

The Khalili Collections have compiled a book based on Hajj and The Arts of Pilgrimage, authored by lead curator of the collection, Qasira Khan. The book is as magnificent as the collection itself, with not only lustrous illustrative images of the Hajj pilgrimage through objects, but also in-depth information for those new and familiar to the Hajj journey.

The book places Hajj in context from the time of Prophet Abraham (SA) to the present day. It takes the reader on a historical route, using objects in the collection to form a clear narrative. It shows the cultural and ethnic diversity of the Muslim Ummah and their unique experiences of pilgrimage.

Some of the most interesting stories told through the objects include a 19th c detail from a Chinese scroll showing pilgrim boats crossing the sea, a 17th century Gujarati painting of the port of Jeddah from the Anis al-Hujjaj (Pilgrims Companion) and a 20th century blueprint map from the Hejaz railway from Damascus to Medina.

The journey to Hajj has significantly changed over time, and the book illustrates this in a fascinating way. From long difficult journeys on ships and boats to the development of the railway systems, the reader is taken on a road to discovery and development through maps, medals and everyday essential objects.

The artefacts in the collection part of the Hajj journey are largely objects of beauty as well as function. The collection demonstrates that everyday objects were made with beauty, care and love; not purely decorative.

Even if you have performed the Hajj pilgrimage, this book takes you on a chronological historical perspective of Hajj through the extensive rich collection. It is the most beautiful and informative book we have encountered on the arts of the Hajj pilgrimage, and has the potential to become a household essential and family heirloom, passed down from generation to generation.

Hajj and The Arts of Pilgrimage is published by Assouline publishers.

Hajj and The Arts of Pilgrimage officially launches on July 7 – further information:


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