Name of Object:

Wooden panel


Cairo, Egypt

Holding Museum:

Museum of Islamic Art

 About Museum of Islamic Art, Cairo

Date of Object:

Hegira 1st–2nd century / AD 7th–8th century

Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Wood decorated in high relief.


Length 41.5 cm; width 21.5 cm

Period / Dynasty:



A wooden panel decorated in high relief. Its decoration is composed of two thick branches that stem from a vase, one of which climbs towards the left and then bends towards the right, looping itself in a circular fashion downwards and terminating in a five-lobed vine leaf. Other stems spring from this branch, some of which culminate in leaves or grape-clusters. The second branch climbs towards the right and then deviates towards the left until it meets the first branch, forming a circle that tapers-off at the bottom. Stems and leaves emanate from this branch, one of which ends with a leaf and a grape-cluster. This wooden panel displays a number of characteristics of the Hellenic style, best seen in the compositional attention to nature and in the variation of the decorative levels and elements; the same characteristics, in fact, that distinguish the decoration of the Umayyad period. This piece recalls the mosaics at the Dome of the Rock and the decorations of the Umayyad desert palace, Qasr al-Mushatta.

View Short Description

When the Arabs conquered Egypt and settled there, they did not introduce any new methods in woodworking and decoration, but rather continued in the Hellenistic style prevalent at the time.

How date and origin were established:

Dating is based on the panel's decorative components and the style of relief work used in crafting which resemble the Umayyad decoration in the Qasr al-Mushatta and in the Dome of the Rock.

How Object was obtained:

This piece was bought in 1945 from the antiquities dealer, Fouquet.

Selected bibliography:

Grabar, O., and Ettinghausen, R., The Art and Architecture of Islam 650–1250, New Haven and London, 1987.
Hassan, Z. M., Atlas al-Funun al-Zukrufiya wa al-Tasawir al-Islamiya [Atlas of Islamic Decorative Arts and Painting], Beirut, 1980.
Khadr, M. Y., Tarikh al-funun al-Islamiya [History of Islamic arts], Abu Dhabi, 2003.
Mustafa, M., Dalil Mathaf al-fan al-Islami [Guide to the Islamic Art Museum], Cairo, 1978.

Citation of this web page:

Salah Sayour "Wooden panel" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2021.;ISL;eg;Mus01;35;en

Prepared by: Salah Sayour
Copyedited by: Majd Musa
Translation by: Amal Sachedina (from the Arabic).
Translation copyedited by: Mandi Gomez

MWNF Working Number: ET 64