Mosaic of polychrome-glazed cut tiles on stonepaste body; set into mortar
135 1/16 x 113 11/16in. (343.1 x 288.7cm)
Storage box: 99 x 41 1/2 in. (251.5 x 105.4 cm)
Wt. 4,500 lbs. (2041.2 kg)
Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1939
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 455
Arabic Inscription (on the outer border in thuluth script): Qur'an 9:18-22
Arabic Inscription (framing the niche of the mihrab containing hadith of Prophet Muhammad in kufic script): "Said [the Prophet] (on him be blessing and peace): . . . witness that there is no God save Allah and that Muhammad is his Apostle and the Blessed Imam, and in legal almsgiving, and in the pilgrimage, and in the fast of Ramadan, and he said, on him be blessing and peace."
Arabic Inscription (at the center of the niche in thuluth script): "The Prophet (may blessings and peace be upon him) said: The mosque is the abode of every believer."
This prayer niche, or mihrab, was originally set into the qibla wall of a theological school in Isfahan, now known as the Madrasa Imami, built just after the collapse of the Ilkhanid dynasty. The mihrab was created by joining a myriad of cut glazed tiles to produce its intricate arabesque and calligraphic designs. The result is one of the earliest and finest examples of mosaic tilework. A splendid work of religious architectural decoration, this mihrab is one of the most significant works in the Museum’s collection.
Inscription: Large inscription in Arabic in muhaqqaq script on outer border: (Qur’an.9:18–22 )
Inscription in Arabic in kufic script framing the niche:
قال علیه الصلوة والسلام بنى الاسلام علی خمس شهادة ان لا إله إلا الله وأن محمداً رسول الله
واقام الصلوة وإیتاء الزکوة و الحج و صوم رمضان وقال علیه الصلوة و السلام من بنی لله
مسجداً ولو بمفحص قطاة علی التقوی
He [the Prophet], blessings and peace be upon him, said: “Islam is built on five
attestations: there is no god but God and Muhammad is the Messenger of God,
he established prayer and the giving of alms and the pilgrimage and fasting of
[the month of] Ramadan.” And he [the Prophet], blessings and peace be upon
him, said: “Whoever builds a mosque for God, even the size of a sand-grouse
nest, based on piety, [God will build for him a palace in Paradise].”
Inscription in Arabic in kufic and thuluth scripts at center of niche:
قال النبي علیه الصلوة والسلام/ المسجد بیت کل تقي
The Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, said:
“The mosque is the abode of the pious.”
Madrasa Imami, Isfahan, Iran (1354–late 1920s); [ A. Rabenou, Paris, by 1931–39; sold to Arthur U. Pope for MMA]
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Ekhtiar, Maryam, and Claire Moore, ed. "A Resource for Educators." In Art of the Islamic World. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2012. pp. 46-47, ill. pl. 4 (color).