H. 9 1/2 in. (24.1 cm)
W. 7 1/8 in. (18.1 cm)
Wt. 8 lbs. (3.6 kg)
Rogers Fund, 1937
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 452
This small panel was excavated at Nishapur from a mound known as Sabz Pushan (the Green Covered). Excavations at Sabz Pushan revealed part of a residential neighborhood with several houses and an alleyway. This piece was found in an iwan, or covered room opening onto a courtyard, richly decorated with carved panels and wall paintings. This iwan may have been part of a private house, but the presence of a mihrab (prayer niche) suggests that it could have also served as a small neighborhood mosque. Other panels found in the same iwan include MMA 37.40.43, 37.40.45, 37.40.46 and 37.40.47. The piece specifically formed the base of a column framing the mihrab. While its design is unique and made to fit the dimensions of this particular panel, the leaf motif in the center appears throughout the iwan in a variety of combinations, creating a sense of cohesion. Such attention to detail, even at the level of tiny panels like this one, is typical of the architectural decoration at Nishapur.
1936, excavated at Sabz Pushan in Nishapur, Iran by the Metropolitan Museum of Art's expedition; 1937, acquired by the Museum in the division of finds
Blair, Sheila S. Text and Image in Medieval Persian Art. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2014. pp. 48-49, ill. fig. 2.24 (b/w).