Observations – The Sword of the Prophet Muhammad and the Staff of Prophet Moses Exhibition part.4 – Ottoman Sultanate Artifacts and the Gigantic Drum

For this final part of the The Sword of the Prophet Muhammad and the Staff of Prophet Moses Exhibition article, we will look into the last section of the exhibition where they displayed Ottoman sultanate artifacts and an ancient gargantuan drum from Indonesia. Actually there is another part of the exhibition, however it only displays a few fossils and a large petrified tree, irrelevant to this blog (or do you think otherwise? tell me in the comments!)

The room is a long t-shaped one supposed to be a lobby but now housing three artifacts, the drum and two from the Ottoman Sultanate, a continuation from the previous room.

The Royal Carriage of the Turkish Ottoman Sultans

Upon approaching the large doors and looking to the left visitors are presented with the Royal Carriage of the Ottoman Sultan. It was an ornate and beautifully made carriage fit for any king of course, no one was allowed to touch the vehicle. It was probably made during the last few centuries of the Ottoman empire, presumably 18th or 19th century where European decorations are in fashion in Ottoman Turkey. the carriage were heavily decorated with Ottoman standards, with gilding and ornaments in abundant. Inside there were boxes (surely not intended to be in the display) but the floors were upholstered with scarlet velvet, the colour of the Turkish flag. the curtains were given the same treatment decorated with gold coloured tassels. The seats  were upholstered with white leather with deep buttons. In short it is an extravagant show of wealth shown on a carriage.

The Royal Litter

Next to the Royal Carriage is the Royal Litter (no not litter as in garbage or litter as in a litter of cats, but a litter as in the mode of transportation where the person being  were borne usually on the shoulders of men). This looks to be much older than the carriage, and seems to be much simpler as well as almost non existent European influence. It is made out of wood and carved with Arabesques and topped with a canopy of black velvet emblazoned with the Ottoman Empire emblem, Arabesques and tassels all in gold thread.

The Gargantuan Drum

Just in front of the Ottoman artifacts is a huge drum from Indonesia. As you can see from the picture it is big enough to fit probably a dozen people comfortably. The drum is usually installed in a mosque and beaten to mark the prayer times five times a day performed by Muslims daily along with the Azan, the vocal call of prayer. The drum, called Beduk in Malay, is a common feature of mosques in South East Asia in the old days. the drum were constructed entirely out of wood and covered with a patchwork of leather of goat or bull skin, stretched to place by the means of wooden nails and pegs around the circumference of the drum.

One side of the drum featuring the last half of the Surah Yaasin.

On either side of the drum were carvings of the Surah Yaasin, the 36th Chapter of the Al-Quran, Islam’s Holy book. One half were carved on one side of the drum and the rest were carved on the other side. The carvings are clear enough to be read, and although there are no further embellishment to the drum, the carving of the Surah is more than enough to show that the maker of the drum dedicated to his work. Following is a closeup picture of the carving.

Closeup of the carving on the drum

Outside the huge double doors beyond the room were exhibitions of fossils and a petrified tree, to show the findings of students of a local distinguished college  on their expedition. I wont  feature it here as it is irrelevant to the subject of Islamic art and architecture. With that ends the entire exhibiton of The Sword of the Prophet Muhammad and the Staff of Prophet Moses


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