Present-day Uzbekistan, Samarqand
Stonepaste; carved and glazed
H. 11 5/8 in. (29.5 cm), W. 8 5/8 in. (21.9 cm), D. 6 3/4 in. (17.1 cm)
The Grinnell Collection, Bequest of William Milne Grinnell, 1920 (20.120.189)
Often called muqarnas, or "stalactite," in Arabic, these architectural elements were used to fill squinches to provide a satisfactory transition between a square room and its domed ceiling. Muqarnas, however, were also employed as simple decorative devices to enrich the appearance of soffits, cornices, capitals of columns, and interiors of domes.