Explore History: Objects from Asia
Discover history and culture through objects from Asia! This a corner exhibition curated
by faculty members, students, and community members to share their unique culture
Display your own cultural heritage or personal experience in this collaborative crowd-sourced
exhibition! With contributions from students, faculty, and community members, we explore
Asian histories, cultures, and experiences through everyday objects. A piece of crockery
might teach us about a region's culinary culture or about a family's (im)migration;
a cherished doll or figurine might teach us about international styles of dress or
about childhood experience; a mass-produced souvenir might teach us about a shifting
economy or a life-changing holiday. * Explore History: Objects from Asia is made possible thanks to the support of the
Presidential Mini-Grant for Diversity Initiatives.
Selected objects are on view both at the Charles B. Wang Center and website.
Please visit the Charles B. Wang Center to see the actual objects!
A prayer rug (janamaz in Urdu) is a fabric used by Muslims during their times of prayer. The act of Muslim
prayer includes several different body positions, such as prostration, sitting on
the ground and standing. It is necessary for the prayer to be performed on a clean
and pure surface. The prayer rug serves as a clean surface between the worshipper
and the ground.
Prayer rugs are an essential item found in the home of every Pakistani Muslim. Each
member of the family has his or her own prayer rug which he or she keeps in a clean
location. It is traditional for a Pakistani mother to give her daughter a prayer rug
on her wedding day. This gift symbolizes the significance of the daughter's starting
her new life with a new family. The prayer rug that is given on the wedding day is
usually of better quality than an average prayer rug, and the wedding gift prayer
rug is also made of a brighter color to represent the vibrant, joyous occasion.
The prayer rug on display was given to me by my grandmother who lived in Pakistan.
It has been a way for me to stay connected to my roots and to my grandmother who recently
passed away. This prayer rug started as just that, a prayer rug, but over time it
has become a cherished memory of my grandmother. Everytime I use this prayer rug,
I am reminded of my grandmother’s beautiful spirit. Prayer rugs are usually passed
down from generation to generation. Some museums hold prayer rugs that date back to
the late 16th century. The decorative pattern, material, dyes and colors used in Muslim
prayer rugs vary greatly depending on the region they come from. The design of the
rug usually incorporates Islamic art, symbols and architecture, such as the Kaaba, a minaret, or the dome of a mosque. The design of the rug represents the richness
of Islamic history, the value of the prayer rug, and the act of prayer itself.
Zara Sayeed, SBU Student