October 11, 2014

1277 MALAYSIA (Penang) - Kapitan Keling Mosque in George Town


Founded in 1786 on the north-east corner of Penang Island, by Captain Francis Light, a trader for the British East India Company,, as base for the company in the Malay States. George Town is a living testimony to the multi-cultural heritage and tradition of Asia, and European colonial influences. Together with Melaka, it was designated in 2008 as an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Even if Kapitan Keling Mosque, built in the 19th century by Indian Muslim traders, isn't part of the site, it is arguably the best known mosque in Penang. Keling is a Malay term for people of Indian origin, nowadays considered offensive but not so considered at the time when the mosque was built. The Kapitan was a representative of the Indian community, like the Kapitan China for the Chinese community.

In the 1910s, the mosque was given a major facelift in the British Moghul Revival style, with the addition of Mughal domes and turrets, a large minaret and a madrasah, completed around 1916. The mosque complies with Kiblat, which rules that it must face the direction of the Ka'aba. Another renovation in 1930 gave to the mosque its present appearance after the previous design was deemed impractical. In keeping with tradition, the mosque was not rebuilt, but only enlarged. The exterior is ochre yellowed while the interior had white marble floors and a high ceiling. The interior aisles are formed by a series of horseshoe arches, crowned with King Edward's plaques. The façade of the building and its interior were decorated with geometric designs, as human and animal forms are forbidden in Islam.

About the stamp
The stamp, showing Bunga Kertas (Bougainvillea), is part of the series Garden Flowers, about which I wrote here. 

References
Kapitan Keling Mosque - Asia Explorers
Kapitan Keling Mosque - Wikipedia

Sender: Pompilian Tofilescu
Sent from George Town (Penang / Malaysia), on 02.05.2012

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