Panel with Harpies, Fish, and Trees

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 453

This rectangular panel of carved stucco, which would have originally been painted, is ornamented with an image of a central fruit-bearing tree emerging from a mound of earth. The tree is flanked on either side by addorsed harpies with interlaced fleur-de-lys-ending tails and by pairs of fish. The composition is contained within a border filled of scrolling vines. Dated to either the 11th or 12th century, when Nishapur was under Ghaznavid or Seljuq rule, its iconography of the addorsed harpies evokes the astrological sign of the Gemini, although the pair of fish may allude to Pisces. The panel may have been an element from an overall decorative program of a building interior. It was excavated at Nishapur, Iran in 1939 and was acquired by the Museum through a division of finds with the Iranian government.

Panel with Harpies, Fish, and Trees, Terracotta; molded (?), painted

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