This panel is one of five of identical design (07.236.26, 07.236.28, 07.236.29, 07.236.30, 07.236.46); a carved ivory plaque, inlaid into wood and framed by thin strips of ivory and wood. The carving on the plaque consists of an intertwined floral scroll overlaid by a beaded cartouche terminating in a bud. Originally, there would have been more panels, arranged around a central plaque in the shape of a star or a half-star.
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Geography:Attributed to Egypt, Cairo
Medium:Wood; carved, inlaid with ivory
Dimensions:H. 5 3/8 in. (13.7 cm) W. 3 3/8 in. (8.5 cm) D. 11/16 in. (1.8 cm)
Credit Line:Rogers Fund, 1907
Panel with Six Plaques 07.236.26, .28–31, and .46
The plaques included in this panel were originally a part of a larger composition and may have been used to decorate a door or minbar. The composition of Mamluk doors in the Museum of Islamic Art, as well as those in situ, is based on medallions with stars and polygons in the center, half-medallions at the sides, and quarter medallions in the corners.
The spectacular minbar of Sultan Qaitbay, now in the Victoria and Albert, has a similar composition. The side panels of this piece, which stands over 7.32 meters (24 feet), are adorned with medallions containing sixteen-pointed stars. The style of carving and motifs employed are similar to the Metropolitan panels, which must have been produced about the same time.
The central motif, half of a sixteen-pointed star with seven small polygons placed around it, is inlaid into a wood plaque and framed by a thin strip of ivory. A floral scroll with split leaves and lobed spiked buds fills the half-star, while the same lobed bud appears in the encircling polygons. The five ivory plaques in the surrounding zone are also inlaid into wood and enclosed by thin strips of ivory. The decoration of these units consists of a beaded cartouche terminating in a bud, superimposed on a floral scroll of split leaves.
1. See, for example the door panels in Cairo, Museum of Islamic Art, no. 5977; and in the New York Metropolitan of Art no. 91.1.2064.
2. London, Victoria and Albert Museum, nos. 1050–1869.
A. Beaudry Collection ; [ Panayotis Kitycas, Cairo, until 1907; sold to Albert M. Lythgoe for MMA]
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Renaissance of Islam: Art of the Mamluks," November 21, 1981–January 10, 1982, no. 104.
Atil, Esin. Renaissance of Islam : Art of the Mamluks. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1981. no. 104, pp. 208–9, ill. (color).
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