Dado Panel

Object Name:
Dado panel
20th century
Excavated in Iran, Nishapur
Plaster; cast
H. 34 1/2 in. (87.6 cm)
W. 31 7/8 in. (81 cm)
D. 2 3/4 in. (7 cm)
Estimated weight: 120 lbs. J-F does not want piece moved in present state. (Weight extrapolated from dimensions of similar unframed Nishapur stucco.)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1937
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 452
This cast was taken from a square panel excavated at Nishapur from a mound known as Sabz Pushan (the Green Covered). Excavations at Sabz Pushan revealed part of a residential neighborhood with several houses and an alleyway. This piece was found in an iwan, or covered room opening onto a courtyard, richly decorated with carved panels and wall paintings. This iwan may have been part of a private house, but the presence of a mihrab (prayer niche) suggests that it could have also served as a small neighborhood mosque. Other carved panels found in the same iwan include MMA 37.40.40, 37.40.43, 37.40.46 and 37.40.47.
Originally part of a dado, or the carved decoration on the lower half of a wall, this panel consists of a four-lobed medallion filled with tulip-like flowers and half-palmette leaves. While the dado itself wrapped around the iwan, each of its panels was slightly different. All contain a lobed medallion like this one, but the number of lobes and what fills them differs from one to the next (compare to 30.40.46, originally placed to its left). Alternation and variation of visually-related elements was a decorative strategy used to great effect in the architecture of Nishapur.
1936, excavated at Sabz Pushan in Nishapur, Iran by the Metropolitan Museum of Art's expedition; 1937, acquired by the Museum in the division of finds

Wilkinson, Charles K. Nishapur: Some Early Islamic Buildings and their Decoration. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1986. p. 232, ill. fig. 3.24 (b/w).

Blair, Sheila S. Text and Image in Medieval Persian Art. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2014. pp. 48-49, ill. fig. 2.24 (b/w).