Name of Object:

Fragment of a painted wooden panel


Damascus, Syria

Holding Museum:

National Museum of Damascus

About National Museum of Damascus, Damascus

Date of Object:

Hegira 218–27 / AD 833–42

Museum Inventory Number:

ع 16063

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Painted wood.


Length 52.2 cm, width 11.1 cm

Period / Dynasty:



Raqqa region, Syria.


In Palace B in the Raqqa region, we find a group of applied ornamental techniques executed in various materials. These include the use of plaster frames for doors and windows as well as wooden panels to cover walls and ceilings of formal imperial halls. Similar forms and techniques existed in the Umayyad period and may be found in Qasr al-Hayr al-Gharbi. This indicates a continuation of this type of palatial decoration between the Umayyad and Abbasid periods.
This rectangular fragment from a painted wooden panel is decorated with stylised floral and vegetal motifs bracketed by geometric designs. The decoration is executed in black, red, yellow and brown applied in gradual shades to make the drawings seem three-dimensional.

View Short Description

A painted wooden panel that once decorated the reception hall of an 'Abbasid palace in Raqqa reveals a high degree of expertise in three-dimensional shading of floral motifs.

Original Owner:

Caliph al-Mu'tasim Billah (r. AH 218–27 / AD 833–42)

How date and origin were established:

The object was found in Palace B in the Raqqa region. An inscription on plaster was found on one of the walls of the palace associating it with the Abbasid Caliph al-Mu'tasim Billah (r. 218–27/ 833–42). The palace is thought to have been built in around 220 (835).

How Object was obtained:

The object was recovered during archaeological excavations carried out in 1952 by the Syrian General Directorate of Antiquities under the direction of Nasib Salibi.

How provenance was established:

This piece of architectural ornamentation was found in palace B in the Raqqa region and was probably made in situ.

Selected bibliography:

Abu al-Faraj al-Ush, M., A Concise Guide to the National Museum of Damascus,
Damascus, 1969, p.158.
Andalucia, J., de- (ed), El esplendor de los Omeyas cordobeses, exhibition
catalogue, Granada, 2001.
Daiber, V., and Becker A., Raqqa III, Mainz, 2004.
Kohlmeyer, K. (ed), Land des Baal, Mainz, 1982.

Citation of this web page:

Mona al-Moadin "Fragment of a painted wooden panel" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2019.;ISL;sy;Mus01;13;en

Prepared by: Mona Al-Moadin
Translation by: Hilary Kalmbach (from the Arabic)
Translation copyedited by: Mandi Gomez

MWNF Working Number: SY 19


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