© Khalili Family Trust © Khalili Family Trust © Khalili Family Trust

Name of Object:

Talismanic shirt


London, United Kingdom

Holding Museum:

Khalili Family Trust – Hajj and the Arts of Pilgrimage Collection


AD late 17th – 18th century

The shirt is not dated. The suggested date is based on comaprisons with similar material in the Topkapı Sarayı, as well as paintings in manuscripts

Type of object:

Talismanic shirt; textile; inscribed textile; painted textile; Mecca; Medina

Museum Inventory Number:

TXT 545

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Cotton, inscribed in coloured inks and gold; shirt made up of 10 pieces of fabric, sewn together


87 x 101cm (with sleves extended)

Period / Dynasty:





The front and back of the shirt are covered with Qur’anic verses, prayers and invocations to God, written in a variety of scripts and arranged into variously shaped panels and cartouches. Two cartouches on the front carry depictions of the Masjid al-Haram (‘Holy Sanctuary’) at Mecca and the Masjid al-Nabawi (‘Prophet’s mosque’) at Medina, each within a decorative frame enclosing minute depictions of other holy sites in the surrounding areas.

Representations of the two holy sanctuaries on talismanic shirts are rare. Among known examples are a shirt with a depiction of the Meccan sanctuary, and a cap with an embroidered depiction of the Prophet’s mosque, in the Topkapi Saray Museum, and views of both on an Indian shirt in the Khalili Collections. All, however, are schematic and unlike the views on this shirt which are more realistically portrayed.

Selected bibliography:

Tezcan, H., Tılsımlı Gömlekler, Istanbul: Timaş Tarih, 2011.

Citation of this web page:

Nahla Nassar "Talismanic shirt" in Explore Islamic Art Collections , Museum With No Frontiers, 2019. http://www.museumwnf.org/thematicgallery/thg_galleries/database_item.php?itemId=objects;EPM;uk;Mus22;28;en&id=amulets_and_talismans

Prepared by: Nahla Nassar

MWNF Working Number: UK2 28