Name of Object:

Door jamb


Palermo, Italy

Holding Museum:

Regional Gallery of Sicilia, Abatellis Palace

Date of Object:

12th century

Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Carved wood.


Height 457 cm, width 227 cm

Period / Dynasty:



House of Goffredo di Marturano, next to the Church of Santa Maria dell'Ammiraglio, Palermo.


The jambs and lintel of the door to the Casa Maturano bear a fairly complex decorative frieze, unlike the other significant wooden example from more or less the same period in Palermo, which is still in situ on the main door of the Church of Santa Maria dell'Ammiraglio dating back to 1143, the year the church was founded by Admiral Giorgio of Antioch. It is characterised by traditional decorative rectangular panels similar to Egyptian examples dating back to the 11th and 12th centuries. The central decorative band, framed by two lateral borders characterised by half-palmette plant motifs tightly intertwined, consists of a sequence of opposed double pentagons linked by a pair of semi-circles filled with vegetal spirals, interposed with 16-sided stars. The geometric elements have a beaded edge and are filled with tightly carved intertwined half-palmettes. According to Scerrato (1979), this type of decoration appears to derive from the Samarra stuccoes (Iraq), and presents notable similarities with the wooden ceilings of the Ibn Tulun mosque in Cairo.

View Short Description

These wooden remains were the jambs and lintel of a door from the Casa Maturano in Palermo. Their decoration is reminiscent of the decorative motifs used in the Samarra stuccoes (Iraq), as well as the decoration on the wooden ceilings in the Ibn Tulun Mosque in Cairo.

How date and origin were established:

From stylistic similarities with Fatimid carpentry.

How Object was obtained:

Deposit, previously in the Royal Museum of Palermo.

How provenance was established:

From historical documents.

Selected bibliography:

Delogu, R., La Galleria Nazionale della Sicilia, Rome, 1977, p.10.
Scerrato, U., “Arte Islamica in Italia”, in Gli Arabi in Italia, (eds. F. Gabrieli and U. Scerrato), Milan, 1979, pp.523–4 and fig. 197.

Citation of this web page:

Rita Bernini "Door jamb" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2018.;ISL;it;Mus01_A;35;en

Prepared by: Rita BerniniRita Bernini

Storica dell'arte, ha lavorato a Palermo, presso la Galleria Regionale della Sicilia - Palazzo Abatellis e a Venezia presso la Soprintendenza per il Patrimonio Storico Artistico ed Etnoantropologico del Veneto.
Attualmente lavora presso il Museo Nazionale d'Arte Orientale "Giuseppe Tucci" e si occupa dell'Archivio delle Collezioni d'arte orientale in Italia, conservato presso il museo.
Ha pubblicato diversi articoli sull'arte siciliana, veneta e romana.

Copyedited by: Pier Paolo RacioppiPier Paolo Racioppi

Laureato e specializzato in storia dell'arte presso l'Università di Roma “La Sapienza” sta conseguendo il dottorato di ricerca in Storia e conservazione dell'oggetto d'arte e d'architettura presso l'Università di Roma TRE. Ha svolto attività seminariali presso l'Istituto di Storia dell'Arte all'Università La Sapienza di Roma e attualmente è docente di storia dell'arte del Rinascimento presso la IES at Luiss (Roma).
Ha pubblicato diversi contributi sulla tutela artistica, il collezionismo e le accademie d'arte, ed ha collaborato al Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani dell'Enciclopedia Treccani.

Translation by: Laurence Nunny
Translation copyedited by: Monica Allen

MWNF Working Number: IT 47


 Artistic Introduction

 Timeline for this item

Islamic Dynasties / Period

Siculo–Norman Art

On display in

MWNF Galleries

Furniture and woodwork


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