Medina. Procession of the Maḥmal (Holy Carpet) through al-Manākha Square. 1914
This image is from Bilder aus Palästina, Nord-Arabien und dem Sinai (Images from Palestine, North Arabia, and the Sinai), an album of 105 photographs of scenes in the Middle East taken by German archeologist and orientalist Bernhard Moritz (1859–1939). The album includes views of Jerusalem, Mecca, Medina, Hejaz and Jiddah in Saudi Arabia, Petra in Jordan, and Mount Sinai in Egypt. Also shown are views of exteriors and interiors of temples, mosques, and archeological remains; street scenes in Mecca and Medina; small villages and views of the desert; and informal group portraits of Arabs building the Hejaz Railway, Bedouins, local villagers, and pilgrims on the Hajj to Mecca. The photographs are accompanied by explanatory text, in German, by Moritz. After studies in Berlin, Moritz participated in a number of German-sponsored archeological expeditions to Egypt and Mesopotamia. From 1887 to 1896 he worked as secretary, librarian, and teacher of Arabic in the newly-founded Seminar for Oriental Languages at Friedrich-Wilhelms University in Berlin. From 1896 to 1911 he headed the Khedival Library and Archive in Cairo, and it was from there that he made numerous research trips to the Sinai and Hejaz. The Library of Congress copy presented here has an ink stamp in Japanese: Minami Manshū Tetsudō Kabushiki Kaisha Tōa Keizai Chōsakyoku zōsho no in (Seal of collection at the South Manchuria Railway Company, East Asia Economic Research Bureau). It also has a book stamp in Arabic on the inside front cover stating the connection with the South Manchuria Railway Company. The volume most likely was confiscated by the U.S. Armed Forces at the end of World War II and subsequently transferred to the Library of Congress. The South Manchuria Railway Company engaged in extensive intelligence gathering and operational activities on behalf of the Japanese Imperial Army, including efforts to agitate Muslims against Chinese and Russian rule.
Dietrich Riemer, Berlin
Title in Original Language
Medina : Prozession des Maḥmal (heilg. Teppich) auf dem Platz Menâcha. 1914.
Type of Item
1 photograph ; photomechanical print
- No. 68 in portfolio: Bilder aus Palästina, Nord-Arabien und dem Sinai (Images from Palestine, North Arabia, and the Sinai)
- Bobzin, Hartmut, “Moritz, Bernhard,” Neue Deutsche Biographie (Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, 1952–2008).
Last updated: January 10, 2017