The historic Pontifex carpet, which was immortalized as a non-fungible token (NFT) sold at about $81,886 late on Friday afternoon to raise funds for Afghanistan. The UAE’s gift to Pope Francis was sold as an NFT to raise funds.
The Pontifex carpet which was oven by Afghan women was originally gifted by His Highness Sheikh Mohamad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to Pope Francis in September 2016 during a visit to the Vatican, where the two leaders met to discuss strengthening existing diplomatic ties and promoting inter-religious harmony.
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The 272cm x 183cm physical version of the carpet remains with Pope Francis, but Zuleya – Fatima Bint Mohammed Bin Zayed Initiative’s (FMBI) retail arm – created a 187 cm x 125cm replica to be gifted to whoever buys it as an NFT.
Musfir Khawaja, co-founder of nftOne, the DIFC-headquartered regional marketplace where the NFT was listed, said, “This is perhaps the most iconic NFT to be sold in the Middle East. The buyer will get the physical replica of the carpet besides an ornate gold frame on a 165cm digital canvas with the NFT loaded on it.”
Money from the sale will go to aid vulnerable families in Afghanistan during the harsh winter months.
The NFT is one of six pieces that were unveiled at Abu Dhabi Art, where they were showcased on digital canvases alongside some of the best contemporary art.