Fellowship Grantee Report – Motifs of Islamic Cosmology on the Prayer Rug – Sajjada

Fatima Zutic

Saturday, September 10, 2022

In her talk Fatima Kadić-Žutić will present an overview of her doctoral study of the traditional knotted pile sajjada and its iconography.

The presentation will deal with the sajjada’s definition, functions and the history of its use, followed by a descriptive overview of the most important types of the sajjada and its weaving regions. The emphasis will be placed on establishing the origins of patterns and motifs in the examined samples before determining the levels of their deformation and stylization as a result of repetitive production and copying. The contextualization of the sajjada’s use will also be taken into consideration.

After that the specific cosmological motifs mentioned in the Qur’anic Verse of Light (24:35): the lamp, the niche, the “motifs of the center” (the tree, the sign of four-directional branching, the medallion and the göl) will be presented theoretically and then examined as applied in sajjada’s design.

The presentation will emphasize the fact that by considering the full geographic and historic range of the sajjada’s forms and by taking a methodically sound approach and with the right command of history, language, and technical knowledge, one can derive some fundamental, important, central and inclusive insights into this widespread art form, its history, distribution, and meaning.

Fatima Kadić-Žutić is the first recipient of the Hajji Baba Club Research Fellowship. Ms Kadić-Žutić works as head librarian at the library of the Faculty of Islamic Studies, University of Sarajevo. Besides a Diploma in Librarianship, she obtained two bachelor degrees from the University of Sarajevo, one in Islamic studies and the second in Persian and Turkish languages and literature. She defended her MA and PhD dissertations at the University of Sarajevo; her MA dealt with the tree of life and bird motifs on Bosnian kilim and embroidery, whereas her PhD, supervised by Professor Walter B. Denny, was on the Islamic Prayer rug and its cosmological iconography.

In addition to English, Kadić-Žutić reads Arabic, Turkish, Persian and Russian. She has published papers in Bosnian and international scholarly journals and has presented papers at Bosnian and international conferences in the fields of History of Islamic Culture and Civilization, History of Islamic Art, Islamic Textiles and Carpets, Islamic Prayer Rugs and History of the Islamic Printed Book.

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