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'Picture of Mount 'Arafat'. Photographer: H. A. Mirza & Sons [‎6r] (1/1)

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The record is made up of 1 b&w photographic print held within a blue card window mount. It was created in c 1907. It was written in Urdu and English. The original is part of the British Library: Visual Arts.

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Content

Genre/Subject Matter

This image shows pilgrims camping at the Plain of 'Arafat. Located 21km southeast of the Masjid al-Haram, the plain, which extends 6 km from East to West and 12 km from North to South, and the 70 metre high granite hill at the centre of it are stations of the hadj . Mount 'Arafat is located northeast of the plain and is also known as Jabal al-Rahmah or Mount of Mercy.

On the ninth day of Dhul-Hijjah, known as the Day of 'Arafat, just before noon, pilgrims gather on the plain to perform wuquf or ‘standing before God’, as can be seen in this image: this is a pillar of the hadj and must be undertaken for the pilgrimage to be valid.

In this image, the relatively slow shutter speed captures the ghost images of figures ascending the lower steps to the right of the image. However, many other individual figures are in sharp focus. Most of the pilgrims – male and female – are wearing the two piece garb, consisting of two white seamless sheets, associated with being in the state of ihram , although some variation in style of dress is noticeable, such as the man wearing checked material clearly visible in the lower right corner of the scene, the woman standing to his left and the group of women wearing white trousers under the ihram towards the centre foreground. The men have clearly shaved their heads as a part of the ritual cleansing ceremony undertaken at the beginning of the hadj in order to enter into the state of ihram .

Inscriptions

Recto The front of a sheet of paper or leaf, often abbreviated to 'r'. :

Upper centre: ‘Picture of Mount 'Arafat’

‘The place of assembly of the hajj and the locus of blessings (barakat)

‘Arafat, the mine of God's mercy;

Submission and supplication from the pilgrims

Beneficence and kindness from God. ‘

To the right and left of the image:

‘This is the mountain where repentance will be accepted. It was here that Adam, blessings be upon him, and Hawa [Eve], blessings be upon her, met and recognized each other – this is the reason why it is called Mount 'Arafat, that is, the "mountain of recognition." The [act of] hajj takes place here. This is the mountain where all sins of Muslims are certainly forgiven. At the time of the hajj, attendance here is quite overwhelming. People come and pitch tents, with the [act of] hajj occurring between the afternoon and sunset prayers. It is indeed a sight worth seeing – the manner in which Muslims, rich and poor, king and beggar, all wearing the ihram and looking alike, beseechingly asking for forgiveness of their sins from the true Creator and the real object of worship. The sobbing is convulsive and everything other than God is obliterated from the heart. Everyone is continually saying, while waving a handkerchief, "O Lord I am standing at Your service, You who are without equal, I am standing at Your service." On retiring to sleep, there is mystical happiness.’

Lower centre: 'H. A. Mirza & Sons, Photographers, Chandni Chowk, Delhi'

Lower right corner, along right edge, in pencil: ‘6’ ‘143’

Verso The back of a sheet of paper or leaf, often abbreviated to 'v'. :

In pencil, upper right corner:

IO/143

4th [?] [? 07?] [illegible]

Recto The front of a sheet of paper or leaf, often abbreviated to 'r'. :

In red ink on upper left of image and – faintly – beneath lower left intersection of cruciform double-barred frame:

رجسطری شده

[superscript ط]

Labels

Labels ( verso The back of a sheet of paper or leaf, often abbreviated to 'v'. ):

1 – Letterpress

‘143 H. A. Mirza & Sons: Photographers.

نقشه جبل عرفاث (Naqsha-i-Jabal-i-Arafát.

A photo. [sic] of the Arafát hills, with a brief

description.) One sheet. Published by the

Photographers: Delhi. (Octr. 15, 1907.)

14 x 18º. Litho. Ist Edition.

Price, R. I, A. 4.’

2 – Ink stamp

‘India Office

19 May 1909

Library.’

Other Notes

The image was formerly referred to as ‘[Campsite at Mecca with the Arafat Hills in the distance.]’

Extent and format
1 b&w photographic print held within a blue card window mount
Physical characteristics

Dimensions

Mount (external): 349 x 450 mm

Mount (internal): 200 x 275 mm [landscape]

Format

Photographic print held within window mount in landscape format

Materials

Mottled blue-tinted window mount, card, gelatin silver The principal photographic process used for black and white photography from the 1870s. print, indigo ink (printed), red ink (hand-painted)

Condition

Mount is extensively bowed, with light staining along all edges, particularly lower and right corner. Very light scuffing and wrinkling is also visible on the paper verso The back of a sheet of paper or leaf, often abbreviated to 'v'. backing, which is under-laid by cotton strips.

The print shows very little signs of toning, but is distorted gently throughout lower edge. There are surface losses, linear indentations and some puckering of the upper layer of the print at lower left corner.

Foliation

6 (143)

Process

Gelatin silver The principal photographic process used for black and white photography from the 1870s. print

Written in
Urdu and English in Arabic and Latin script
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'Picture of Mount 'Arafat'. Photographer: H. A. Mirza & Sons [‎6r] (1/1), British Library: Visual Arts, Photo 174/6, in Qatar Digital Library <https://www.qdl.qa/archive/81055/vdc_100023483748.0x000017> [accessed 5 March 2024]

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