Public Lecture – Four Corners of One Cloth: Textiles from the Islamic World (2018)
Bowland Auditorium, University of York, 29 November 2018
On Thursday 29 November 2018, Amy George (Curator (Textiles and Wallpaper), the Whitworth) and Uthra Rajgopal (Assistant Curator (Textiles and Wallpaper), the Whitworth) gave a joint lecture on ‘Four Corners of One Cloth: Textiles from the Islamic World’, an exhibition that opened at the Whitworth on 23 June 2018 and closes on 24 November 2019.
Cloth was, and continues to be, a unifier across the Islamic world. The title of this exhibition refers to the Prophet Muhammad bringing together four leaders who all wanted to raise the sacred Black Stone from the ground up to the Ka’ba in Mecca. They placed the stone in the centre of a cloth so that each could take a corner and lift together.
At the heart of this exhibition is a nearly-100-year-old fragment of kiswa cloth. The kiswa covers the Ka’ba and is replaced annually during Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca); each year sections are cut and distributed across the world. This is a textile of religious significance but not all of the works on display are connected to worship. Socks, rugs, bedding and tablecloths are included; objects made in beautiful and careful ways for everyday use.
This talk explored the making of the exhibition. It offered insight into the Islamic textiles in the Whitworth’s collection as well as the contributions made by Manchester’s Islamic communities. It was hosted by the York Islamic Art Circle.
Main image: Detail of display at the Whitworth's exhibition 'Four Corners of One Cloth: Textiles from the Islamic World'