- Title: SAUDI ARABIA: Craftsmen apply finishing touches to Kaaba cover for the annual Haj
- Date: 1st November 2011
- Summary: MECCA, SAUDI ARABIA (OCTOBER 29, 2011) (REUTERS) MODEL OF KAABA DOOR WITH GOLD EMBROIDERY MADE OF SILK AND GOLD PLAQUE WITH INFORMATION ON KAABA IN ARABIC AND ENGLISH VARIOUS OF COVER EMBROIDERED WITH VERSES FROM THE KORAN SUPERVISOR AT THE KAABA COVER PRODUCTION FACTORY SHOWS QUALITY OF SILK USED TO EMBROIDER TEXT MORE OF SUPERVISOR SPEAKING TO VISITORS ABOUT THE COVER VISITORS TAKING PICTURES OF THE COVER SUPERVISOR GIVING A TOUR OF THE FACTORY - EXPLAINS VERSE INSCRIBED ON MATERIAL WOMAN TAKING PICTURES VARIOUS OF CRAFTSMAN WEAVING VERSES OF THE HOLY KORAN ON THE KAABA COVER USING SILK AND GOLD STRINGS CLOSE OF CRAFTSMAN (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) DIRECTOR OF THE KAABA COVER FACTORY, KAMAL SAWADI, SAYING: "The cover of the Kaaba consumes 700 kilograms of pure natural silk and about 120 kilograms of silver wires plated with gold." VARIOUS OF CRAFTSMAN WEAVING GOLD STRING INTO MATERIAL CLOSE OF SILK STRINGS BENEATH MATERIAL MORE DETAIL OF WEAVING PROCESS MORE OF MEN WEAVING SILK INTO MATERIAL (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) DIRECTOR OF THE KAABA COVER FACTORY, KAMAL SAWADI, SAYING: "The cost of the Kaaba cover dress is subject to the gold and silver prices in the world markets. This year the price of gold and silver has risen three times above the value from last year. The cost of the dress is more than 20 million Saudi Riyals." WIDE OF FACTORY WITH CRAFTSMEN WORKING CLOSE OF CRAFTSMAN WEAVING KAABA COVER CLOSE OF HAND WEAVING USING NEEDLE (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) CRAFTSMAN, GHAZI QUILAT, SAYING: "I have worked here for 28 years, and, thank God, I feel proud because I work for the house of God and this is a great reward. There are thousands of people who wish to do this job." MORE OF CRAFTSMEN WORKING EXTERIOR OF FACTORY/WORDS READING (Arabic) (HOLY KAABA DRESS FACTORY) MECCA, SAUDI ARABIA (OCTOBER 28, 2011) (REUTERS) WORSHIPPERS CONVERGING AT THE GRAND MOSQUE IN MECCA/KAABA IS COVERED WITH BLACK VELVET COVERING 'THE KISWA' MORE OF KAABA COVERED WITH KISWA/PILGRIMS PRAYING
- Embargoed: 16th November 2011 12:00
- Location: Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia
- Country: Saudi Arabia
- Topics: Religion,Religion
- Reuters ID: LVA2P80ZF2K34V6MFPC1F5LKIEKW
- Story Text: As millions of Muslim worshippers around the world embark on an annual Haj pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, a Saudi factory is busy at work preparing one of the items that will be the centre of attention.
Local artisans spend numerous hours painstakingly hand-crafting the "kiswa," a covering made of black silk embroidered with silver and gold threads, which is destined to be draped over the holy Kaaba in the Grand Mosque in Mecca.
Kamal Sawadi, who is director at the factory that produces the cover explained its value.
"The cover of the Kaaba consumes 700 kilograms of pure natural silk and about 120 kilograms of silver wires plated with gold," he said.
Dedicated craftsmen weave a new cover every year at the factory. The cost of producing the cover fluctuates according to global markets.
"The cost of the Kaaba cover dress is subject to the gold and silver prices in the world markets. This year the price of gold and silver has risen three times above the value from last year. The cost of the cover is more than 20 million Saudi Riyals," over five million U.S. dollars, said Kamal Sawadi.
Some craftsmen at the factory have proudly dedicated their lives to the art of crafting the highly valued covering.
"I have worked here for 28 years, and, thank God, I feel proud because I work for the house of God and this is a great reward. There are thousands of people who wish to do this job," said craftsman Ghazi Quilat as he used golden thread to embellish inscribed verses of the Koran onto the black material stretched before him.
Mecca pilgrims circumambulate the Kaaba at the Grand Mosque, Islam's most sacred site, seven times in a counter clockwise direction during Haj.
Edges of the kiswa may give away to wear and tear as millions of pilgrims circle it, some grabbing hold of it in an attempt to get closer to the Kaaba, others for balance and some hoping to take away a souvenir of their historic journey. In order to protect the cover it is customary for the lower half of the kiswa to be folded up and covered with a white cloth out of reach.
The new kiswa will replace the old one on the Day of Arafa, the peak of Haj, which this year will fall on November 5.
The old kiswa is then cut into smaller pieces and gifted to visiting foreign Muslim dignitaries or notable organisations.
The kiswa is a work of art that is an iconic part of Islamic history. In August this year a section of a 200-year-old imperial kiswa was put on display in Abu Dhabi at the Emirate Palace Hotel, to mark the month of Ramadan.
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