Replica of carpet given to Pope Francis by UAE sold for Dh306,000 to help Afghan families

A digital version of the artwork was sold at auction

A digital version of the 'Pontifex Carpet' was sold as an NFT, or non-fungible token, for 25 Ether, cryptocurrency equivalent to Dh306,184. Photo: NFTOne Middle East
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A digital replica of a carpet that was presented to Pope Francis by the UAE has been sold at an auction for Dh306,184 to help raise funds for Afghan women and families.

In 2016, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, gave the "Pontifex Carpet" to the pope during a visit to the Vatican.

On Friday, a digital version of the carpet was sold as an NFT, or non-fungible token, where the buyer paid 25 Ether, a cryptocurrency equivalent to $83,361(Dh306,184).

NFTs are digital tokens that allow buyers to gain ownership of a digital item, whether it is art, music or drawings.

The original physical carpet remains with Pope Francis, but the NFT has helped “immortalise” the artwork.

The carpet was woven by Afghan women and comes from the Tolerance range by Zuleya.

Zuleya is one of the retail arms of the Fatima Bint Mohamed bin Zayed Initiative, which sells handicrafts made in Afghanistan.

Zuleya teamed up with the UAE’s MORROW collective to turn it into an artwork that will be displayed in an ornate gold frame on a 165-centimetre digital canvas.

It was designed to be a symbol of peace and harmony, and was presented to Pope Francis when the two leaders met to discuss strengthening existing diplomatic links and promoting inter-religious harmony.

In 2019, Pope Francis visited Abu Dhabi, becoming the first Pope in history to visit and perform papal Mass in the Arabian Peninsula.

Updated: January 16, 2022, 11:14 AM