Mashrabiyya Screen with Two Gazelles

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 454

Turned‑wood screens, called mashrabiyyas, were a characteristic feature of the cityscape of Cairo. Used inside and outside buildings, for balconies, windows, and partition screens, mashrabiyyas were an ideal way to filter the bright sunlight and provide ventilation while maintaining privacy. To make these screens, short pieces of turned wood are inserted into polygonal joints, often at 45-degree angles, creating a lattice. Medieval examples tended to be tightly worked, often with minute inlay. Later mashrabiyyas sometimes introduce a secondary pattern into the lattice pattern, as is the case with the two animals found here.

Mashrabiyya Screen with Two Gazelles, Wood; turned

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