The Baloch or Baluch are an Iranian people who live mainly in the Balochistan region, located at the southeasternmost edge of the Iranian plateau, encompassing the countries of Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan. There are also Baloch diaspora communities in neighbouring regions, including in India, Turkmenistan and the Arabian Peninsula.
In Islam, a prayer mat is placed between the ground and the worshipper for cleanliness during the various positions of Islamic prayer. These involve prostration and sitting on the ground. A Muslim must perform wudu (ablution) before prayer, and must pray in a clean place.
For Muslims, when praying, a niche, representing the mihrab of a mosque, at the top of the mat must be pointed to the Islamic center for prayer, Mecca. All Muslims are required to know the qibla or direction towards Mecca from their home or where they are while traveling.
This prayer rug from the Mushwani Baluch tribe of Afghanistan has the prayer niche bordered by two wide borders, the larger of which is made up of a multitude of eight-pointed stars. The outer edge is decorated with the “S” motif, as a protective symbol. Two of the ends are finished with wide edges in the kilim technique.
Material: 100% hand-spun sheep wool
Size: 132×88 cms
Origin: Mushwani Baluch tribe from Afghanistan
Date of weaving: 1940s