Tile from a Mihrab

Object Name: Tile with niche design

Date: dated A.H. 722/ A.D. 1322–23

Geography: Attributed to Iran

Medium: Stonepaste; modeled, painted under transparent glaze

Dimensions: H. 27 3/8 in. (69.5 cm)
W. 26 in. (66 cm)
Wt. 74 lbs. (33.6 kg)

Classification: Ceramics-Tiles

Credit Line: Gift of William Mandel, 1983

Accession Number: 1983.345


This tile once formed part of a mihrab, or niche, facing Mecca, toward which prayer is directed in mosques. The inscription at its top includes a Qur'anic reference to the mihrab’s function, and provides the date of the tile’s manufacture in the fourteenth century. This surrounds the modeled vine and tendril motif executed with touches of black and turquoise. We must imagine that the interior walls of the building containing this mihrab were once covered in similar tiles, as was common during the Ilkhanid period in Iran.