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16 I ORLD NEWSW Passion Islam I April 2009
Prophet’s tomb pearl
carpet sells for $5m
A pearl-studded carpet believed to
have been created in India more than
100 years ago as a gift for the tomb
of the Prophet Muhammad was sold
in Qatar for almost $5.5 million, the
auctioneers said.
Sotheby’s auction house said it
had expected bidding for the Pearl
Carpet of Baroda to start at $5 million
and believed it would fetch a much
higher price.
But the starting price was brought
down to $4.5 million because
there were few buyers, Sotheby’s
spokesman Habib Basha told AFP in to have been commissioned by the
were harvested from the waters of the
Doha. maharajah of Baroda as a gift for the
Arabian Gulf, it said.
“We had to reduce the opening bid Prophet’s tomb, which is located in
The carpet was exhibited in 1902-
to $4.5 million and the pearl carpet Madina in Saudi Arabia, Sotheby’s
3 as a highlight of the great Delhi
eventually sold at $5.458 million,” said on its website.
Exhibition, and was later moved to
including commission and fees, he The maharajah died before the
said. donation was made and the pearl
It was showcased again over 80
The eventual buyer was one of carpet remained in his family. It has an
years later in 1985 in New York. The
three bidders but he wishes to remain entirely embellished surface, studded
carpet was among a host of Islamic
anonymous, Basha added. with an estimated two million natural
art items on auction in Doha.
The carpet is traditionally believed seed pearls known as ‘basra’ which
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