ArtistBaluch, Western Aghanistan (Afghan)
; Aimaq, Western Afghanistan (Afghan)
DateLate 19th century
DimensionsWork : 58 x 45 in. (1.5 x 1.1 m)
Credit LineGift of Verne Trinoskey and Paula Armintrout Trinoskey
Men in Baluchistan often perform their daily prayers on a special rug with a distinctive stepped design at one end. The stepped design symbolically represents a mihrab, the niche in a mosque wall that directs worshippers toward the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia where the Islamic faith was born. At prayer time, a man will unroll his rug on the ground and use it to perform a specified sequence of standing and kneeling prayers. Prayer rugs are kept rolled up when not in use, and because they are highly valued by their owners, even old rugs tend to be preserved in good condition. The design in the main field of this rug is called dokhtar-e-ghazi, literally “daughter of the judge.” It is historically associated with a small number of Aimaq and Baluch groups from Western Afghanistan.