Name of Object:

Wooden panel


Cairo, Egypt

Holding Museum:

Museum of Islamic Art

About Museum of Islamic Art, Cairo

Date of Object:

Hegira 1st–2nd century / AD 7th–8th century

Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Wood decorated in high relief.


Length 41.5 cm; width 21.5 cm

Period / Dynasty:



A wooden panel decorated in high relief. Its decoration is composed of two thick branches that stem from a vase, one of which climbs towards the left and then bends towards the right, looping itself in a circular fashion downwards and terminating in a five-lobed vine leaf. Other stems spring from this branch, some of which culminate in leaves or grape-clusters. The second branch climbs towards the right and then deviates towards the left until it meets the first branch, forming a circle that tapers-off at the bottom. Stems and leaves emanate from this branch, one of which ends with a leaf and a grape-cluster. This wooden panel displays a number of characteristics of the Hellenic style, best seen in the compositional attention to nature and in the variation of the decorative levels and elements; the same characteristics, in fact, that distinguish the decoration of the Umayyad period. This piece recalls the mosaics at the Dome of the Rock and the decorations of the Umayyad desert palace, Qasr al-Mushatta.

View Short Description

When the Arabs conquered Egypt and settled there, they did not introduce any new methods in woodworking and decoration, but rather continued in the Hellenistic style prevalent at the time.

How date and origin were established:

Dating is based on the panel's decorative components and the style of relief work used in crafting which resemble the Umayyad decoration in the Qasr al-Mushatta and in the Dome of the Rock.

How Object was obtained:

This piece was bought in 1945 from the antiquities dealer, Fouquet.

Selected bibliography:

Grabar, O., and Ettinghausen, R., The Art and Architecture of Islam 650–1250, New Haven and London, 1987.
Hassan, Z. M., Atlas al-Funun al-Zukrufiya wa al-Tasawir al-Islamiya [Atlas of Islamic Decorative Arts and Painting], Beirut, 1980.
Khadr, M. Y., Tarikh al-funun al-Islamiya [History of Islamic arts], Abu Dhabi, 2003.
Mustafa, M., Dalil Mathaf al-fan al-Islami [Guide to the Islamic Art Museum], Cairo, 1978.

Citation of this web page:

Salah Sayour "Wooden panel" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2021.;ISL;eg;Mus01;35;en

Prepared by: Salah SayourSalah Sayour

Salah Ahmad Sayour holds a BA in Islamic Antiquities, Faculty of Arts, Cairo University (1973) and is currently studying for an MA in the same field. In 1979 he had a four-month scholarship at Austrian museums to study museology. Preparing exhibitions for the Museum of Islamic Art's collections in the Arab World Institute, Paris and curating exhibitions held in host museums in the USA and Paris augmented his experience leading to his appointment as head of several sections at the Museum. He has written several articles on Islamic painting and arts for Prism Magazine published by the Ministry in different languages and has participated in preparing scientific texts for the catalogues for the Museum's exhibitions at home and abroad.

Copyedited by: Majd Musa
Translation by: Amal Sachedina (from the Arabic).
Translation copyedited by: Mandi GomezMandi Gomez

Amanda Gomez is a freelance copy-editor and proofreader working in London. She studied Art History and Literature at Essex University (1986–89) and received her MA (Area Studies Africa: Art, Literature, African Thought) from SOAS in 1990. She worked as an editorial assistant for the independent publisher Bellew Publishing (1991–94) and studied at Bookhouse and the London College of Printing on day release. She was publications officer at the Museum of London until 2000 and then took a role at Art Books International, where she worked on projects for independent publishers and arts institutions that included MWNF’s English-language editions of the books series Islamic Art in the Mediterranean. She was part of the editorial team for further MWNF iterations: Discover Islamic Art in the Mediterranean Virtual Museum and the illustrated volume Discover Islamic Art in the Mediterranean.

True to its ethos of connecting people through the arts, MWNF has provided Amanda with valuable opportunities for discovery and learning, increased her editorial experience, and connected her with publishers and institutions all over the world. More recently, the projects she has worked on include MWNF’s Sharing History Virtual Museum and Exhibition series, Vitra Design Museum’s Victor Papanek and Objects of Desire, and Haus der Kulturen der Welt’s online publication 2 or 3 Tigers and its volume Race, Nation, Class.

MWNF Working Number: ET 64


Related monuments

 Artistic Introduction

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Islamic Dynasties / Period


On display in

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Furniture and woodwork


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