Name of Object:



Cairo, Egypt

Holding Museum:

Museum of Islamic Art

About Museum of Islamic Art, Cairo

Date of Object:

Hegira 10th century / AD 16th century

Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Stucco, pierced and fitted with coloured glass.


Height 131 cm, width 65 cm

Period / Dynasty:





A window made of stucco, which contains pierced decoration filled with coloured glass. The decorations of the window are placed in two rectangular sections: one, larger, at the bottom and the other, smaller, at the top. The decoration in the lower section is composed of a pointed arch, within which are vegetal motifs including cypress trees, and decorative architectural components such as domes and minarets, which bear a strong Ottoman imprint. The upper section is composed of an inscription in naskhi script, which reads: 'Oh Muhammad'.This inscription is written against a background of geometric decoration and stylised-coloured flowers distinguished by their simplicity.
Stucco windows appeared in buildings in the early Islamic era and were used in Amr ibn al-'As Mosque and in al-Azhar Mosque, during the Fatimid period. In the Mamluk and Ottoman periods stucco coloured-glass windows were used more generally. The Museum of Islamic Art in Cairo has a number of stucco coloured-glass windows in the collection that are embellished with a variety of decorations, which invests in them a special beauty particularly when the sun shines through them or when they are exposed to artificial light. Among the most beautiful is that with the registry number 9886.

View Short Description

Stucco windows were known in different Islamic periods and were used in different buildings to filter the sunshine and soften its glare. When their pierced patterns were covered with coloured glass, the aesthetic effect was exquisite.

How date and origin were established:

The window is dated based on the decorative architectural components, which have a definite Ottoman stamp. The window is also associated with construction of the Sariyat al-Jabal (Mosque of Suleyman Pasha) which was built in 935 / 1528.

How Object was obtained:

This object was transferred to the museum from the Mosque of Sariyat al-Jabal (Mosque of Suleyman Pasha).

How provenance was established:

This window is associated with the Mosque of Suleyman Pasha, built in 935 / 1528 in the Citadel of Cairo and was probably made in Cairo, Egypt.

Selected bibliography:

Al-Pasha, H., Fan al-Taswir fi Masr al-Islamiya [The Art of Pictorial Depiction in Islamic Egypt], Cairo, 1966.
Hassan, Z. M., Muslim Art in Fouad I University, Vol. 1, Cairo, 1950.
Naguib, Ezz El Din, et al, “Light Screens”, Cairo, 1997.
Shiha, M., “Islamic Architecture in Egypt”, Prisma, Magazine of the Ministry of Culture, Cairo, 2001.

Citation of this web page:

Muhammad Abbas Muhammad Selim "Window" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2021.;ISL;eg;Mus01;44;en

Prepared by: Muhammad Abbas Muhammad SelimMuhammad Abbas Muhammad Selim

He graduated from the Faculty of Archaeology, Cairo University in 1974 and received an MA on Abbasid Tiraz textiles from the same university in 1995. He has worked at the Museum of Islamic Art in Cairo since 1975. He attended a textile conservation course in Vienna while studying different collections at Austrian museums for five months. He co-authored the first catalogue of the Abegg Foundation in Bern in 1995, the catalogue of the Islamic Art Museum in Cairo and the forthcoming catalogue of the Egyptian Textile Museum. He lectured on Fatimid Art in Switzerland in 1997 and at the Ismaili Centre for Islamic Studies in London in 2003. He has classified and studied the Islamic collection at the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, London, and is currently preparing to publish its catalogues.

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 82


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Islamic Dynasties / Period


On display in

Discover Islamic Art Exhibition(s)

The Ottomans | Art outside the Capital


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