Pair of Minbar Doors

Object Name: Pair of doors

Date: ca. 1325–30

Geography: Attributed to Egypt, Cairo

Medium: Wood (rosewood and mulberry); carved, inlaid with carved ivory, ebony, and other woods

Dimensions: H. 77 1/4 in. (196.2 cm)
W. 35 in. (88.9 cm)
D. 1 3/4 in. (4.4 cm)
Object encased in weighted freestanding mount. Estimated Wt of piece: 80- 120 lbs.

Classification: Wood

Credit Line: Edward C. Moore Collection, Bequest of Edward C. Moore, 1891

Accession Number: 91.1.2064


The furnishings of Cairo's mosques, especially during the Mamluk period, were decorated with intricately constructed polygons and strapwork. Often, the polygons were of wood, either carved or inlaid with ivory or colored woods. These doors exhibit a great variety of patterns, most of which are also found in other media, such as stone carvings, marble mosaics, and stucco window grilles. The accurate cutting required to make such patterned objects is remarkable, since every piece affects the whole. Comparative material in the Museum of Islamic Art, Cairo, suggests that these doors come from the minbar (pulpit) of the mosque of the emir Sayf al-Din Qawsun (d. 1342), the powerful Cupbearer of Sultan al-Nasir ibn Qala’un.