Name of Object:

Wooden panel with epigraphic blazon


Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom

Holding Museum:

Royal Museum, National Museums of Scotland (NMS)

About Royal Museum, National Museums of Scotland (NMS), Edinburgh

Date of Object:

Hegira 872–901 / AD 1468–96

Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Carved wood.


Height 59.69, width 39.37 cm

Period / Dynasty:



Possibly from the Wikala of Sultan Qaytbay in Cairo, Egypt.


A wooden panel with a central field and narrow border. Within the central field a round tripartite, epigraphic blazon is set against an arabesque ground. The titles of Sultan Quaytbay (r. AH 872–901 /AD 1468–96) occupy the centre ground, his name is given above and his victory evoked below. The three inscriptions, rendered in thuluth script read: ‘al-sultan al-malik al-ashraf’ (centre) ‘Qaytbay’ (above) ‘izz nasrihi’ (below). The central field is surrounded by a stylised split-palmette scroll. Qai’tbay was a prolific patron of both the arts and architecture, he commissioned a large number of mosques, public fountains (sabil) religious schools (madrasa) and inns (wikala). It has been suggested that this panel originally came from the Wikala of Sultan Qa’itbay in Cairo, but without further details it is difficult to assign this piece with certainty to that particular complex.

View Short Description

This wooden panel carries the composite blazon of the Mamluk sultan Qaytbay. Qaytbay was an outstanding patron of the arts and of architecture. He commissioned a large number of mosques, public fountains, religious schools and inns (wikalas). This panel is said to come from his wikala in Cairo.

How date and origin were established:

The epigraphic blazon in the centre of the panel gives the titles and the name of the Mamluk Sultan Qaytbay (r. 872–901 / 1468–96).

How Object was obtained:

Purchased by the NMS from the Maurice Collection in 1884.

How provenance was established:

The epigraphic blazon in the centre of the panel gives the titles and name of the Mamluk Sultan Qaytbay; it is possible that this panel was commissioned for the Wikala of Sultan Qaytbay in Cairo.

Selected bibliography:

Atil, E., Renaissance of Islam: Art of the Mamluks, Washington D.C., 1981, pp.204–5, cat. no. 101 (for a similar panel).

Citation of this web page:

Ulrike Al-Khamis "Wooden panel with epigraphic blazon" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2018.;ISL;uk;Mus03;14;en

Prepared by: Ulrike Al-KhamisUlrike Al-Khamis

Ulrike Al-Khamis is Principal Curator for the Middle East and South Asia at the National Museums of Scotland in Edinburgh. She began her academic career in Germany before completing her BA (1st class Hons) in Islamic Art and Archaeology at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London in 1987. The same year she moved to Edinburgh, where she completed her Ph.D. thesis on “Early Islamic Bronze and Brass Ewers from the 7th to the 13th Century AD” in 1994. From 1994 to 1999 she worked as Curator of Muslim Art and Culture for Glasgow Museums and, in 1997, was one of the main instigators of the first ever Scottish Festival of Muslim Culture, SALAAM. Since 1999 she has been based at the Royal Museum in Edinburgh, where she has curated several exhibitions and continues to publish aspects of the collections. In addition to her museum work she has contributed regularly to the teaching of the Fine Arts Department at the University of Edinburgh.

Copyedited by: Mandi Gomez

MWNF Working Number: UK3 14


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