Exhibition Program: Prayer Carpets Colloquium

Detail of a textile with an arch at the center and bands of floral motifs on either side and in the center
Prayer carpet (detail); Ottoman Empire, Türkiye, Istanbul or Egypt; 17th century. The Textile Museum Collection 1967.24.1. Museum purchase.


This two-day virtual event will bring into conversation scholars and other leading voices from across the globe. Held in conjunction with Prayer and Transcendence, the colloquium is designed to enrich the scholarly contributions of the exhibition. Panelists on the first day will explore prayer carpets in context, with a discussion of the divine interpretation of these works following on the second day.

During the live program, simultaneous translation will be available in English and Turkish. Viewers can select their preferred language channel upon entering the Zoom. Keep reading to see the list of sessions and speakers, or download the complete schedule in English (PDF) and Turkish (PDF).

This program is a partnership with the Vehbi Koç Foundation's Sadberk Hanım Museum.

About the Exhibition

In the Muslim faith, carpets create physically and spiritually “clean” spaces during the daily ritual of prayer. Drawn from the collections of five institutions, Prayer and Transcendence introduces the purpose and iconography of classical prayer rugs from across the Islamic world, as well as design comparisons from the Jewish tradition. Learn more about the exhibition

Tuesday, March 21: Prayer Carpets in Context

10-11 a.m. 
Introduction and Keynote
Walter Denny, distinguished professor, University of Massachusetts Amherst

11 a.m.-12 p.m.
Panel: Prayer Carpet Traditions
Suzan Bayraktaroğlu, retired director, Vakiflar Carpet Museum
Şerife Atlıhan, retired director of research, Center of Traditional Handicraft and Design, Marmara University
Deniz Beyazit, associate curator, Department of Islamic Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art

12-12:30 p.m.
Discussion and Q&A
Hülya Bilgi, director, Sadberk Hanım Museum (Moderator)

Wednesday, March 22: Designing for Transcendence

10-11 a.m.
Exhibition Overview and Keynote
Sumru Krody, senior curator, The Textile Museum Collection, The George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum
Idries Trevathan, curator of Islamic art and culture, Museum at the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture

11 a.m.-12 p.m.
Panel: Divine Designs
Turgut Saner, History of Architecture Department, Istanbul Technical University
Hülya Bilgi, director, Sadberk Hanım Museum
Fatima Kadić, head librarian, faculty of Islamic Studies, University of Sarajevo
Alberto Boralevi, independent researcher, Florence, Italy

12-12:30 p.m.
Discussion and Q&A
Sumru Krody, senior curator, The Textile Museum Collection, The George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum (Moderator)

How to Participate

To join us for the colloquium, please register early to reserve your space. We will email you a link and details for joining the program on Zoom a few days before the program date. We will also email registered participants the full program with a detailed schedule.