Exhibitions/ Art Object

Triangular Plaque

8th century
Made in Eastern Mediterranean, excavated at al-Fudayn (Mafraq), Jordan
Ivory, incised
Overall: 11 x 2 3/4 in. (28 x 7 cm)
Credit Line:
Jordan Archaeological Museum, Amman (J.15709)
Not on view
Al-Fudayn, an Umayyad residence located on trade routes joining cities such as Gerasa (Jerash) with the Arabian Peninsula, belonged to the exceptionally wealthy great grandson of the third Orthodox caliph ‘Uthman ibin ‘Afan. It was destroyed in the early ninth century, when a subsequent owner opposed the Abbasids. These luxury goods were found together and were perhaps hidden at that time.
A camel with her calf and a palm tree in front of an arch with a hanging lamp decorate this plaque. Similar arches become a visual symbol of the "Sura of Light," which compares the light of God to the light of a lamp in a niche.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition (7th–9th Century)," March 12, 2012–July 8, 2012.