Dado Panel

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 452

In 1935, a team of archaeologists from the Metropolitan Museum began excavating a mound known as Sabz Pushan (the Green-Covered), located near the city of Nishapur. The excavation uncovered part of a tenth-century residential neighborhood with several units richly decorated in carved and painted stucco. This panel was assembled from fragments of carved stucco found on the floor of one of these units, having crumbled off a nearby wall where they originally formed a long dado. The panel’s main decoration consists of a band of eight-point stars, each filled with a slightly different cluster of vegetal motifs. In the very center is a peculiar ornament consisting of a half-palmette leaf from which a motif emerges that could be interpreted as a bird’s head. Such playfulness is common in the architectural ornament of Nishapur, where vines are animated with eyes and hands (40.170.176), and letters on inscription bands sprout leaves (40.170.442).

Dado Panel, Stucco; carved, with some cast plaster elements

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