Date: dated A.H. 1235/ A.D. 1819–20
Geography: Attributed to Turkey, probably Istanbul
Medium: Silk, metal wrapped thread; lampas, brocaded
Dimensions: Textile: H. 115 3/4 in. (294 cm)
W. 85 1/2 in. (217.2 cm)
Credit Line: Fletcher Fund, 1976
Accession Number: 1976.312
Inscribed with the names of God, the Prophet Muhammad and the first four leaders of the Muslim community, and bordered by Qur'anic verses, this silk sanjak (shield-shaped banner) displays an image of a two-bladed sword with a dragon-headed hilt. Referred to as Dhu'l Fiqar and associated with military victory, this sword is said to have belonged to 'Ali, the cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet. While Ottoman banners similar to this one were used as military insignia from the 15th century onward, this example bears an early 19th century date, and may have been borne instead by the faithful during pilgrimage to Mecca.