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Element from a Stalactite Squinch (Muqarnas)

Object Name:
Squinch
Date:
10th century
Geography:
Iran, Nishapur
Culture:
Islamic
Medium:
Stucco; painted
Dimensions:
H. 12 1/4 in. (31.1 cm) W. 7 3/4 in. (19.7 cm) D: 3 3/4 in. (9.6 cm)
Classification:
Stucco
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1938
Accession Number:
38.40.252
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 453
Probably originally part of a muqarnas, or stalactite squinch, this and other muqarnas elements would have been stacked, in descending size, in the upper corner of a room in order to make the transition to a dome. This, together with objects 38.40.249–38.40.251 are among the earliest known examples of muqarnas, a feature that became quite popular in Islamic architecture in subsequent centuries. The painting on these elements is intriguing, with disembodied eyes that peer out from the vegetal decoration.
1936, excavated at Sabz Pushan in Nishapur, Iran by the Metropolitan Museum of Art's expedition; 1938, acquired by the Museum in the division of finds

Dimand, Maurice S. A Handbook of Muhammadan Art. 2nd rev. and enl. ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1944. p. 24, ill. fig. 12 (b/w).

Dimand, Maurice S. A Handbook of Muhammadan Art. Publications, 36.. Lahore: The Panjabi Adabi Academy, 1964. p. 24, ill. fig. 12 (b/w).

Wilkinson, Charles K. Nishapur: Some Early Islamic Buildings and their Decoration. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1986. pp. 23, 252, ill. fig. 14 (color), fig. 3.63 (b/w).

Sims, Eleanor, B. Marshak, and Ernst J. Grube. "Persian Painting and its Sources." In Peerless Images. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2002. p. 26, ill. fig. 31 (color).



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