Name of Object:

Mashrabiyya window


Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom

Holding Museum:

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow Museums

About Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow Museums, Glasgow

Date of Object:

Hegira 13th century / AD 19th century

Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Stucco; moulded and carved openwork with coloured glass.


Height 72.5 cm, width 74 cm

Period / Dynasty:



Cairo, Egypt.


A stucco and coloured glass mashrabiyya window, which belongs to a set of openwork windows in the Kelvingrove Collection, each with a different design in the centre of the niche. This one shows a cypress tree surrounded by flower stems under a niche. The green, red, and yellow coloured-glass pieces have been imbedded in the stucco openwork from the back. During the Ottoman period in Cairo both mosques and private houses were adorned with such windows from as early as the AH 10th / AD 16th century. The tradition of setting coloured-glass in stucco has endured since its earliest days in the Abbasid capital of Samarra (AH mid-2nd / AD 9th century) to the present day.

View Short Description

This stucco and coloured glass window is decorated with a cypress tree and floral arrangements, typical of AH 13th- / AD 19th-century Ottoman art. The cypress tree symbolises a true Muslim as it stands tall and bows in the wind gracefully. Windows such as this adorned both homes and mosques in Cairo.

How date and origin were established:

Artistic analysis: the style and technique of this window resembles many 13th- / 19th-century stucco windows still in place in Cairo today.

How Object was obtained:

Purchased by Glasgow Museums / Kelvingrove Art Gallery in 1896.

Selected bibliography:

Jenkins, M., Islamic Glass, A Brief History, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1986.

Citation of this web page:

Noorah Al-Gailani "Mashrabiyya window" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2021.;ISL;uk;Mus04;36;en

Prepared by: Noorah Al-GailaniNoorah Al-Gailani

Noorah Al-Gailani is Curator for Islamic Civilisations at Glasgow Museums, Scotland. With a BA in Interior Design from the College of Fine Arts, Baghdad University and three years' experience in design and folk art preservation, she moved to the UK in 1992. On completing her MA in Museum Studies at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London in 1994, she worked as Project Officer at the Grange Museum of Community History documenting the presence of Muslim communities in the London Borough of Brent. In 1995 she was Assistant Curator, Ancient Monuments Laboratory, English Heritage, and in 1996 became Curator for John Wesley's House and the Museum of Methodism in London. She co-authored The Islamic Year: Surahs, Stories and Celebrations (Stroud: Hawthorn Press, 2002) for non-Muslim children. Since 2003 she has been based at The Burrell Collection in Glasgow, working across the city's museums to interpret Islamic art and culture, ancient and modern, through research, exhibitions and educational activities.

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: UK4 41


 Artistic Introduction

 Timeline for this item

Islamic Dynasties / Period


On display in

See also

Virtual Visit Exhibition Trail

EARLY OTTOMAN ART - Legacy of the Emirates


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