'Prophet carpet' goes for $5.5m





A carpet that was commissioned in India 150 years ago to decorate the tomb of the Prophet Muhammad in Medina has sold for nearly $5.5m at an auction in Doha.

Bidding was expected to start at about $5m but the starting price was brought down to $4.5m as there were few buyers.

The rug, known as the Pearl Carpet of Baroda, was created using an estimated two million natural seed pearls.

It is decorated with hundreds of precious stones, including diamonds, sapphires, rubies and emeralds.

It is believed that the Pearl Carpet of Baroda was commissioned by India's wealthy Maharaja of Baroda, Gaekwar Khande Rao, as a gift to sit at the tomb of the Prophet Muhammad.

The maharaja's death meant it was never delivered and remained in India, being exhibited as a highlight of the Delhi Exhibition more than 100 years ago.

Later, it was taken by a family member to Monaco.



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