CAIRO – 10 January 2021: Located in Bab al-Khalq, the Museum of Islamic Art houses nearly 100,000 diverse artifacts showcasing various Islamic arts throughout the ages, and enriching the study of Islamic art.
The museum is considered one of the largest Islamic art museums in the world, and a beacon for Islamic arts and civilization throughout the ages.
Among the museum’s exhibits is a shirt placed in a showcase in one of the museum’s halls.
“What is so special about this shirt?” One might wonder.
The magic shirt dates back to the Safavid era in Iran. The Safavid era was in the 12th century AH/ 18 AD.
The shirt is decorated with lines, lozenges, and circles with black and red ink. Also, verses from the Qur’an, the holy names of God, illuminated phrases and incantations are written in black and red medians on the shirt to attract bliss and ward off harm for those who wear it. Some writings are faded while others are almost erased.
Traces of blood can easily be spotted on the shirt, indicating that the person wearing it was injured or killed.
The magic shirt was placed in the Medicine Hall of the Museum of Islamic Art.
The shirt has a length of 137 cm, a chest width of 89 cm, a waist width of 92 cm and an arm length of 20 cm and an arm width of 30 cm. The neck opening is 16 cm. It is a dress that is not stitched with a sleeve, made of linen, and consists of very precise geometric divisions and elaborate design.
The waist size of 92 cm indicates that whoever wore it was full-bodied and had a large stomach. The chest width of 89 cm indicates that the person who wore it had broad shoulders.
On December 28, 1903, the museum was inaugurated for the first time during the reign of Khedive Abbas Helmy II.
The aim of its establishment was to collect Islamic monuments and documents from many parts of the world such as Egypt, North Africa, the Levant, India, China, Iran, the Arabian Peninsula, and Andalusia.
The idea began in the era of Khedive Ismail, specifically in 1869 AD, but remained under implementation until 1880 during the reign of Khedive Tawfiq.
The Museum of Islamic Art has two entrances, one on the northeast side and the other on the southeast side. The façade of the museum, overlooking Port Said Street, is distinguished by its Islamic decorations inspired by the various eras of Islamic architecture in Egypt.