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Magic carpet

Riding a Flying Carpet, an 1880 painting by Viktor Vasnetsov.
A plot element from Middle Eastern literature
First appearance '
Genre Fantasy
In story information
Type of plot element Magical carpet
Function Transportation device
Specific traits & abilities Capable of flight

A magic carpet, also called a flying carpet, is a legendary carpet that can be used to transport persons who are on it instantaneously or quickly to their destination.


In literature

The popularity of One Thousand and One Nights brought magic carpets to the attention of Western audiences. The literary traditions of several other cultures also feature magical carpets. The magic carpet of Tangu, also called "Prince Housain's carpet" was a seemingly worthless carpet from Tangu in Persia that acted as a magic carpet. It was featured in tales from One Thousand and One Nights.

Another of Vasnetsov's renderings of the same subject.

Solomon's carpet[1] was reportedly made of green silk with a golden weft, sixty miles long and sixty miles wide: "when Solomon sat upon the carpet he was caught up by the wind, and sailed through the air so quickly that he breakfasted at Damascus and supped in Media."[2] The wind followed Solomon's commands, and ensured the carpet would go to the proper destination; when Solomon was proud, for his greatness and many accomplishments, the carpet gave a shake and 40,000 fell to their deaths.[3] The carpet was shielded from the sun by a canopy of birds. In Shaikh Muhammad ibn Yahya al-Tadifi al-Hanbali's book of wonders, Qala'id-al-Jawahir ("Necklaces of Gems"), Shaikh Abdul-Qadir Gilani walks on the water of the River Tigris, then an enormous prayer rug (sajjada) appears in the sky above, "as if it were the flying carpet of Solomon [bisat Sulaiman]".[4]

In Russian folk tales, Baba Yaga can supply Ivan the Fool with a flying carpet or some other magical gifts (e.g., a ball that rolls in front of the hero showing him the way or a towel that can turn into a bridge). Such gifts help the hero to find his way "beyond thrice-nine lands, in the thrice-ten kingdom". Russian painter Viktor Vasnetsov illustrated the tales featuring a flying carpet on two occasions (illustrations, to the right).

In Mark Twain's "Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven", magic wishing-carpets are used to instantaneously travel throughout Heaven.

In J. K. Rowling's book "Quidditch Through the Ages", it is said that flying carpets are more popular than broomsticks among wizards in countries such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran and Mongolia.


In popular culture

Magic carpets have also been featured in modern literature, movies, and video games, and not always in a classic context.

  • In his comic fairy tale Prince Prigio, Andrew Lang makes one of the hero's christening gifts a magic carpet.
  • Poul Anderson's Operation Chaos features an alternate America in which flying carpets are a major form of transportation, along with brooms.
  • In Super Mario Bros. 2, an enemy named Pidgit rides on a flying carpet.
  • A flying carpet is also a character (complete with personality) in the 1992 Disney film Aladdin.
  • Contemporary journalists often described the 1955 Citroën DS automobile as having ride quality similar to a magic carpet.
  • In Sourcery, the fifth novel in the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett, Rincewind, Corina, Nijel and Creosote escape from Klatch using a magic carpet stored in Creosote's treasury. However, the escape does not initially go according to plan since the carpet does not work until Rincewind "just paid attention to certain fundamental details of laminar and spatial arrangements." (the carpet being upside down) and commands it to go 'down' in order to make it fly.
  • Mr. Popo from the famous manga and anime Dragon Ball rides a magic carpet.
  • Flying carpets are a mode of transportation called "Hawking mats" in the novel Hyperion by Dan Simmons.
  • Harry Potter - The Ministry of Magic has made magic carpets illegal made in a reference in the 4th book Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  • In the online MMORPG RuneScape, magic carpets (made from camel hair) used to be a popular and common method of transportation around the Kharidian Desert, but lost favour after the Emir of Al Kharid, the desert town, fell to his death after mistaking an ordinary carpet for his magic one. However, certain enterprising businessmen have revived this method of travel across the expanse of the desert, for a price.
  • The Magic carpet also return in Sonic Riders and Sonic and the Secret Rings.
  • A popular amusement ride which rotates riders vertically but keeps them heads-up is called "Flying Carpet".
  • In one episode from Baby Looney Tunes, when Daffy borrowed and used Sylvester's blanket on a slide, Daffy went airborne for a few seconds in a way resembling one riding on a flying carpet.
  • In the MMORPG World of Warcraft, a character with a sufficient high skill in tailoring can create a flying carpet for use as a mount..

See also


  1. ^ Retold for children by Sulamith Ish-Kishor, The carpet of Solomon: A Hebrew legend 1966.
  2. ^ The Jewish Encyclopedia, s.v. Solomon: Solomon's carpet"
  3. ^ The Jewish Encyclopedia, ibid.
  4. ^ Qala'id-al-Jawahir book 6

External links


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