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Qibla Finders

When Muslims pray, they turn towards Mecca. The Islamic term for this direction is qibla.

Islamic astronomers created Qibla Finders to indicate the direction prayer. They were objects of function as well as beauty.

Here are 17 exquisite Qibla Finders

1/ Qibla Finder, possibly late 18th century or 19th century View of the Holy Sanctuary at Mecca Medium: lacquer-painted wooden base & lid & metal fittings from Khalili Online

2/ Qibla Finder, 19th century, Turkey The interior of the base depicting the Ka'ba, encircled by names of various cities, the interior of the lid with a larger view of Mecca. Image courtesy of Sothebys

3/ Qibla Finder, 1582-1583 (990 AH) (990 AH), Egypt Horizontal sundial, with a depiction of the Ka’ba in the centre. Constructed for the latitude of Istanbul, this is one of the more unusual examples of instruments. From The British Museum

4/ Qibla Finder, 1738–9, Sultanahmet, Istanbul, Turkey The qiblanuma literally means 'showing the direction to the Ka'ba'. The inside lid shows, shows the minarets of the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca, with the Ka'ba in the courtyard Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts

5/ Qibla Finder, 19th century, Turkey The interior of the cover with the Kaaba at the centre surrounded by the maqams of the four Sunni schools of law with a view of Mecca. The base with a compass with cruciform steel needle and glazed cover.

6/ Qibla Finder, 19th century, Turkey Inside of the cover painted with a central medallion representing aerial view of the al-Masjid al-Ḥarām mosque in Mecca. Inside of the box with a compass & painted medallion view of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Made exclusively for Medina.

7/ Qibla Finder, 1700-1825, Turkey Qibla Finders are used to find the direction and time of prayer by Muslim worshippers. According to the central tenets (or five pillars) of Islam Muslims must pray five times a day. From Birmingham Museum

8/ Qibla Finder, 19th century, Turkey A white metal miniature bowl with cover engraved with a floral band around a central similar floral spray, the cover unscrewing to reveal the circular complete dial pivoting around the centre painted with the Ka’aba