Sotheby's is planning to auction off a carpet once intended to adorn the grave of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). The carpet was commissioned in the 1860s by the Maharaja of Baroda (present-day Vadodara, Gujarat, India). Its name, the Pearl Carpet of Baroda, comes from the fact that it is encrusted with about "two million natural seed pearls" from the Persian Gulf.
The Maharaja's death put an end to plans to send the carpet to the Prophet's (pbuh) grave. The carpet travelled from India to Monaco, and is now housed in Qatar.
Bidding is to start at US $5 million (C $6.2 million), but Sotheby's is predicting that the carpet could sell for up to US $20 million (C $24.8 million) (BBC).
In life, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) slept on a straw mat or a leather mattress stuffed with fibre. Living a life of humility and simplicity was his conscious choice. God alone knows, but I very much doubt the Prophet would have approved of the decoration of his tomb with literally millions of pearls. So I'm glad that this carpet is being treated as a work of art, rather than a religious object. And I'm certainly glad that it never did end up at the Prophet's graveside.