Exploring our Middle East Collections with Rana Ibrahim

On Thursday 6th October, we were delighted to welcome Rana Ibrahim, museum curator and founder of Iraqi Women: Art and War to visit Cheney School to help us understand more about the beautiful Middle Eastern items which have been loaned and donated to the Rumble Museum.

Rana spoke to Sixth Formers studying the Middle East as part of their History A Level course about the very wide range of objects in the collection. She talked about the prayer mat and prayer beads, explaining how Muslims use Qibla apps to position the mats towards Mecca in order to pray. She explained how the prayer beads were in groups of eleven, making 33 beads, and a prayer would be repeated for each bead. 

She spoke about the geometric and nature-themed patterns of the wall-hanging and pillow case in the collection that was common across Arabic regions. She noted that the small dress in the collection would be a little girl's dress, and was made in Jordan. She pointed out the beautiful embroidery on the edges. There are two children's alphabet books to teach Arabic, and also a brochure for this French-Arabic film festival from 2014.

As well as this, she explained how a beautiful metal serving plate and teapot would have been used in hospitality, with sugar pots, and intricate geometric style patterns.

We are very grateful to Rana for sharing her expertise and helping us identify and understand these objects in their contexts. Sixth Form Historians are now preparing to curate a display of these items in our Lane Building cabinets as part of the many Rumble Museum displays on site.