Early Limoges Shrine Plate

"Praying toward the East"

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This plate is another one of the curator's favorites!  It is made by the famous Limoges China Company of France and is wonderfully hand-painted and detailed.  It is absolutely stunning to see in person as the gold painted edge scenes and trim are done in high relief.  The theme is timeless... those followers of Islam stop wherever they are five times daily to Pray facing East towards the Holy City of Mecca, the birthplace of Mohammed, the founder of their faith.  The colors are subdued to respect this hallowed event.  It measures 9 3/4 inches in diameter.

Below is a piece of music/poetry with a Shrine flavor.

It's called "The Easterns Prayer", aka "Allah's Prayer".  It has been set to music at least twice and appears numerous times in decorative framed "motto prints".

 

I pray the prayer the Easterners (Easterns) do,
  May the peace of Allah abide with you;
    Wherever you stay, wherever you go,
      May the beautiful palms of Allah grow;
        Through days of labor, and nights of rest,
          May the love of Good (sweet) Allah make you blest;
            So I touch my heart--as the Easterners (Easterns) do,
              May the peace of Allah abide with you!

            "Salaam Alaikum" (Peace be with you.)

 

I've seen this prayer titled variously "Allah's Prayer", "A Prayer to Allah", "The Easterns Prayer", "The Easterner's Prayer" and, as a song title, "Salaam".

 

I've seen it -- and collected it -- in the following forms:

Sheet music, the words set to music (2 different examples)

An illustrated framed "motto print" (10 different examples)

On a Christmas card (1 truly bizarre example)

An illustrated boxed gift book

The prayer does not appear to be an authentic eastern prayer.  Rather, it is a delightful little bit of orientalism.

 

Many of these motto prints, along with the gift book, were made by the Buzza Company of Minneapolis. I have one motto print dated 1924.
 
The earliest documented reference to the prayer which I have found is 1910.  It was set to music by Agnes Mary Lang with the title "Salaam" and published by Elkin & Co., Ltd., London as one of "Two Eastern Songs".  The sheet music contains two songs. The words of "Salaam" are attributed to "Anon"
 
It was set to music again in 1917 by Carrie B. Jenkins "Dedicated to the Golden Jubilee of The Order of the Eastern Star" of Michigan.  
 
A notation above the title inside the sheet of music reads "'THE EASTERNER'S PRAYER' is a fragment of fugitive verse whose authorship cannot be traced.  It makes an appeal both by its literary merit and beauty of sentiment, is an oriental benediction and as such is peculiarly fitted to occupy a place in fraternal ceremonies."
 
Anyone with information about the source of the prayer or new examples of how it was used, published or sold is invited to contact Helen Marshall hkmarshall@mindspring.com
 

 

         

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