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Photograph: Costin Miroi, Marius Preda,  © Muzeul Naţional de Artă al României

Name of Object:

Multiple-niche prayer kilim (saf)


Bucharest, Romania

Holding Museum:

The National Museum of Art of Romania


Dated Hegira 1253 / AD 1837–1838

Type of object:

Prayer kilim

Museum Inventory Number:

113524/ 1063

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Wool; kilim weave; metal strip


H: 219cm, W: 323cm

Period / Dynasty:



Turkey, eastern Anatolia, Malatya


The multiple-niche prayer carpets, called saf (from the Arabic word for “row”), are sometimes improperly referred to as “family” prayer rugs. They were used in mosques, their particular design allowing several people to pray one next to the other. Here, the uneven colour areas in the mihrab field, the somewhat irregular shape of the arches, and the stylised vegetal motifs are indicative of its tribal, probably Kurdish, provenance. Unlike most large Anatolian kilims, made of two narrow bands, this one is made of only one piece. The Arabic inscriptions and the fact that the carpet was dated make it all the more valuable.

How date and origin were established:

Dated; stylistic analysis; dye analysis; presence of metal strip

How Object was obtained:

Purchased; formerly in the Dr Iosif N. Dona Collection

Selected bibliography:

Dunca, Mircea, Islamic Art at the National Museum of Art of Romania, Bucharest: Muzeul Naţional de Artă al României, 2015: no. 13.

Citation of this web page:

Mircea Dunca "Multiple-niche prayer kilim (saf)"  [db_in_citation_dca]  2019.;DCA;rm;Mus31;11;en

Prepared by: Mircea Dunca
Translation by: Victoria Gheorghita
Translation copyedited by: Mandi Gomez

MWNF Working Number: RO1_011