British Museum opens biggest Hajj exhibit

British Museum opens biggest Hajj exhibit

LONDON - Agence France-Presse
British Museum opens biggest Hajj exhibit

The photogravure etching entitled ‘Magnetism’ by artist Ahmed Mater is seen in this reproduction. REUTERS Photo

The British Museum in London opened its doors yesterday to the first major exhibition in the world on Hajj, the Islamic pilgrimage to the heart of Islam.

Using priceless artefacts, video footage, personal audio recordings and photographs, the show explores the history, journeys and experiences of pilgrims who travel from around the world to reach the holy city of Mecca.

Among the artefacts on display is a “Mahmal,” one of the ceremonial curtained transports in which the Sultans were carried from Cairo to Mecca in what is now Saudi Arabia, and a Koran from the eighth century. Also on show is “Milestone,” one of the stone slabs once used by pilgrims in Iraq to mark their route to Mecca, so they could find their way home.

“Magnetism,” a minimalist piece of art by Saudi artist Ahmed Mater of the Kaaba, the sacred site around which the pilgrims pray, adds a modern touch.

The Hajj exhibition is the third by the British Museum in a series of sacred spritual journeys that included “Treasures of Heaven” and “Book of the Dead,” and is intended to improve understanding of the pilgrimage and Islam itself.

Muslims are obligated to try to make the Hajj to Mecca at least once in their lives.

“Hajj: Journey to the Heart of Islam” will run until April 15.