Wall panel with wings and a Pahlavi device encircled by pearls
Not on view
Beginning in the 5th century, monograms became popular motifs used in the mold-made stucco wall panels that decorated the palaces and houses of the Sasanian elite, and many had symbolic meanings. This panel from the iwan (vaulted hall) of a large house at Umm ez-Za’tir, near the Taq-i Kisra at Ctesiphon, features a group of letters in the Persian script and a lunar crescent above symmetrical feathered wings and encircled by pearls: the motif very likely had protective significance. Half palmettes in the corners would have formed a complete design when this panel was placed within an arrangement with other similar ones. An identical panel is in Berlin in the Museum für Islamische Kunst, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin.