Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014
One panel from a series of Brussels tapestries depicting the Four Continents, illustrating Asia and the annual pilgrimage to Mecca of the camel chosen for the honour of carrying the Kiswa. The Kiswa is the black brocade covering for the Ka’aba (the sacred building at the centre of Mecca). This new cover was sent each year from Egypt; the camel that carried it was thereafter pensioned off for the rest of its life. Woven in the workshop of the Van der Borght family, which flourished from before 1676 until 1794. One of two panels from this series in the Royal Collection (the other is RCIN 28181) from an original set of five (Africa, Asia, Europe, America and a fifth, The Banquet of the Continents). Around ten weavings have been discovered, including those at Wemyss Castle, Nostell Priory and Mereworth Castle.