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Dr. Stephennie Mulder
Dear Entire World: ‘Allah’ textile actually doesn't have Allah on it. Vikings had rich contacts w/Arab world. This textile? No. 1/60
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Dr. Stephennie Mulder 16 Oct 17
Replying to @nytimes @guardian and 3 others
Actually textile has no Arabic at all but story has gone viral have reported 2/60
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Dr. Stephennie Mulder 16 Oct 17
Replying to @nytimes @guardian and 3 others
There is something very troubling here about relationship between news media & experts, who should have been consulted for verification 3/60
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Dr. Stephennie Mulder 16 Oct 17
Replying to @stephenniem
It should go without saying that a single scholar’s un-peer-reviewed claim does not truth make. 4/60
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Dr. Stephennie Mulder 16 Oct 17
Replying to @stephenniem
Here’s the deal with ‘Allah’ textile, as I have been able to piece it together over past few days. 5/60
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Dr. Stephennie Mulder 16 Oct 17
Replying to @stephenniem
1: As an Islamic art historian & archaeologist, I was immediately suspicious about style of Arabic epigraphy. 6/60
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Dr. Stephennie Mulder 16 Oct 17
Replying to @stephenniem
It’s really so simple that I spent five days thinking, it couldn’t be that Larsson would make so fundamental and obvious a mistake. 7/60
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Dr. Stephennie Mulder 16 Oct 17
Replying to @stephenniem
The issue is a serious problem of dating. textile is 10th c. Style of epigraphy in Larsson’s drawing is 500 years later. 8/60
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Dr. Stephennie Mulder 16 Oct 17
Replying to @stephenniem
It’s a style called square Kufic, and it’s common in Iran, C. Asia on architecture after 15th c., ex: Safavid Isfahan w/Allah and Ali 9/60
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Dr. Stephennie Mulder 16 Oct 17
Replying to @stephenniem
Earliest examples of square Kufic on architecture date to the 11th-early 12th century: Panel of Ibrahim b. Mas‘ud, ca. 1059-1099 10/60
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Dr. Stephennie Mulder 16 Oct 17
Replying to @2kufic
Or the Minaret of Mas‘ud III at Ghazni, ca. 1099-1118, so all at least 100 years later than Birka textile h/t 11/60
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Dr. Stephennie Mulder 16 Oct 17
Replying to @2kufic
But final character in Larsson’s drawing Allah txtl has Arabic letter 'ha' ـه w/a hook over it that’s not common until 15th c. 12/60
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Dr. Stephennie Mulder 16 Oct 17
Replying to @2kufic
Perhaps there are 10th c. 2Kufic examples on central Asian textiles. If so, I am not aware of them. Especially not w/hooked ‘ha.’ 13/60
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Dr. Stephennie Mulder 16 Oct 17
Replying to @stephenniem
Even if such examples exist, Larsson specifically cites architecture as comparanda. 14/60
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Dr. Stephennie Mulder 16 Oct 17
Replying to @stephenniem
2. But let’s assume there are 10th c. Central Asian textiles with 2Kufic. Even so, it turns out Larsson’s drawing doesn’t say ‘Allah’ 15/60
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Dr. Stephennie Mulder 16 Oct 17
Replying to @stephenniem
Instead the drawing says للله ‘lllah’, which basically makes no sense in Arabic. 16/60
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Dr. Stephennie Mulder 16 Oct 17
Replying to @stephenniem
Arabic phrases like الحَمْد لله al-hamdulillah incorporate 'l-lah' but don’t stand alone, and it’s spelled لله with 2 uprights, not 3. 17/60
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Dr. Stephennie Mulder 16 Oct 17
Replying to @stephenniem
This is similar to an argument made for another sensational find: the ring said to say ‘to/for God’ 18/60
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Dr. Stephennie Mulder 16 Oct 17
Replying to @stephenniem
For ring, best conclusion is represents a kind of pseudo-Kufic. This tells us was valued by as social status/capital. 19/60
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Dr. Stephennie Mulder 16 Oct 17
Replying to @stephenniem
And we have some evidence of this in the form of pseudo-Kufic inscriptions on weights for measuring silver 20/60
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Dr. Stephennie Mulder 16 Oct 17
Replying to @stephenniem
Or even real Arabic, for example dinar of Anglo-Saxon King Offa, who keeps Arabic Shahada intact as he inserts his name in the middle. 21/60
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Dr. Stephennie Mulder 16 Oct 17
Replying to @stephenniem
3. Spanish ‘ribbons’ bearing Arabic writing also cited by Larsson as comparanda, but this also doesn’t seem to work date-wise. 22/60
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Dr. Stephennie Mulder 16 Oct 17
Replying to @stephenniem
Medieval Spanish textile expert Maria J. Feliciano confirmed to me that known square Kufic tablet weaves are post-13th c. 23/60
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Dr. Stephennie Mulder 16 Oct 17
Replying to @stephenniem
Here are some examples from Monastery of Santa María La Real de Huelgas in Burgos, 13th c. 24/60
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Dr. Stephennie Mulder 16 Oct 17
Replying to @stephenniem
And a bit further north, not far from Paris, maniples w/2Kufic-like patterns from Chasuble of St Edmund, Provins, also 13th c. 25/60
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Dr. Stephennie Mulder 16 Oct 17
Replying to @stephenniem
Interestingly, these later European examples of supposed 2Kufic actually also bear pseudo-Kufic, not real Arabic writing. 26/60
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Dr. Stephennie Mulder 16 Oct 17
Replying to @stephenniem
4. But the final nail in the coffin *cough* I mean burial ship is that Larsson’s claim is based on extrapolation, not evidence. 27/60
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Dr. Stephennie Mulder 16 Oct 17
Replying to @stephenniem
As textile specialist Carolyn Priest-Dorman puts it, text based on “extensions of pattern, not on existing pattern” 28/60
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Dr. Stephennie Mulder 16 Oct 17
Replying to @stephenniem
The word “Allah” in Arabic looks like this: الله. It has an upright alif, two more uprights (lam), and a final ـه 'ha' 29/60
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Dr. Stephennie Mulder 16 Oct 17
Replying to @stephenniem
The tablet-woven textile in the widely-dispersed press photograph shows only design of three uprights connected by a horizontal band. 30/60
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Dr. Stephennie Mulder 16 Oct 17
Replying to @stephenniem
There is a small triangular shape, but no final ha ـه. Frag. was published in 1938 by Agnes Geijer, original drawing looked like this: 31/60
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