Streoscopic view: The Holy Carpet Parade before the departure of the pilgrims for Mecca on Collections Sphere from Khalili Collections
Published by Underwood & Underwood (London) Ltd. and with excerpts from ‘Egypt through the Stereoscope’ by James H. Breasted, PhD., this stereoview shows the Mahmal procession in Cairo.
Starting in the early 1880s, Underwood & Underwood were located in Ottawa, Kansas, and produced stereoscopes and stereoscopic images in their thousands.
The excerpt on the reverse gives a summary of the procession:
‘There is nothing in Cairo which so strikingly reminds us that we are in a country professing the religion of Mohammed, as the ceremonies connected with this pilgrimage to Mecca, the city where he so long labored… Every year at the expense of the Sultan a fine carpet or huge fabric for festooning the Kaaba at Mecca is made in this city, and we are now viewing the procession which is bearing it from the citadel to the mosque of the Hasanên, where the pieces will be sewed together and lined, in readiness for the departure of the pilgrims. We cannot here see the carpet itself, but the “mahmal” which accompanies it is even more sacred. We refer to the curious object which you see at the head of the long procession. It is a pyramid of woven fabric richly embroidered, surmounting a roughly cubical base, of the same material. The whole is stretched on a wooden frame, and contains nothing. Brazen ornaments at each corner and a similar adornment crowning a cylinder at the top complete the strange object. Attached to the ornament at the top are two copies of the Koran, the holy scripture of Islam. It is all mounted upon a magnificent camel, which is here so hidden by the mahmal and the crowd that you can scarcely see it at all. In this way the mahmal proceeds to Mecca with the pilgrims and with them also returns to Cairo…. It is the duty of every Moslem to undertake this pilgrimage at least once in his life.’