Museum Treasure: The minbar of Sultan Qa’itbay

I love museums. I love museums that are interactive even more. And if a museum allows me to photograph their exhibits, particularly their more unusual ones, then they become my best friends. The Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum in London, is one such museum, with a lot of beautiful and rare exhibits, including many from India.

But what caught my eye on my visit there, was an exhibit I had never seen before, and for that matter never even heard of beforeβ€”a minbar.

The Minbar for Sultan Qa’itbay of Egypt at V&A Museum, London

A minbar is a prayer pulpit used for the midday service on Fridays. This magnificent minbar is made of panels of cedar wood with delicate inlay of ivory and wood, enhancing its intricate geometrical patterns. The minbar also has traces paint and gliding work. According to the information plaque, the minbar was made for Sultan Qa’itbay, who ruled Egypt from 1468-1496.

Another view of the minbar of Sultan Qa’itbay of Egypt at the V&A Museum

The holy month of Ramadan is underway, a month of fasting, prayer and piety. I could think of no better way to wish everyone Ramadan Kareem than by sharing this museum treasure with you.

The Museum Treasure Series is all about artifacts found in museums with an interesting history and story attached to them. You can read more from this series here.

31 thoughts on “Museum Treasure: The minbar of Sultan Qa’itbay

    1. When I first saw the exhibit tag, I read it as “minibar” instead of “minbar” and my first reaction was that there was nothing mini about this bar, and also that it was the most impractical one too. It is only when I read the plaque that I realised my mistake.


  1. I had recently seen another post about V&A museum that reminded me that on my next visit to London, I should go and see it. Your post with the lovely images reinforces that idea! Thanks.


    1. I loved the minbar too, Deboshree. In a room full of exquisite artefacts (including some stunning jewellery from India), the dull wooden minbar held its own. It is really a sight to see.


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