Name of Object:
Copper door panel
Islamic Museum, al-Aqsa Mosque / al-Haram al-Sharif
Date of Object:
About hegira 886 / AD 1482
Museum Inventory Number:
Material(s) / Technique(s):
Height 16.5 cm, length: 87 cm
Period / Dynasty:
Probably Jerusalem, but possibly Egypt or Syria.
An inscribed copper panel that once adorned the door of the Madrasa al-Ashrafiyya, founded by Sultan al-Ashraf Qaytbay, situated near the western wall of the Haram al-Sharif, next to Bab al-Silsila (Gate of Chains). The Madrasa al-Ashrafiyya is considered to be one of the most important schools of Mamluk Jerusalem, and the third most significant Islamic building in Jerusalem in terms of beauty, splendour and skilled architectural style, after the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque. The panel shown here was taken from the door of the madrasa during restoration work carried out in 1928, after it was badly damaged as a result of the earthquake in Jerusalem in 1927. It would seem that the door of the madrasa was destroyed and all that remained of it was its copper decorative panels.
View Short Description
This copper panel adorned Madrasa al-Ashrafiyya in Jerusalem, which was built by Mamluk Sultan al-Ashraf Qaytbay at the Western Wall of al-Haram al-Sharif. The panel is worked with epigraphic decoration, which bears the name of the sultan. Vegetal decorative motifs cover the entire panel and fill all the spaces between and around the inscription.
Al-Malik al-Ashraf Abu al-Nasr Qaytbay (r. AH 872–901 / AD 1468–96)
How date and origin were established:
Dating of the panel was made possible by the inscription, which mentions the name of Sultan al-Ashraf Abu al-Nasr Qaytbay. It is known that this panel is associated with Madrasa al-Ashrafiyya built in around 886 / 1482, and this assertion is further supported by historical sources.
How Object was obtained:
The piece was transferred in 1928 from the Madrasa al-Ashrafiyya in Jerusalem to the Islamic Museum.
How provenance was established:
The copper engraving could have been done anywhere in Egypt, Palestine or Syria. For this reason it is difficult to ascertain the place of production but its presence on the door of the Madrasa al-Ashrafiyya in Jerusalem makes it likely that it was made in a workshop on site.
Al-'Arif, A., Tarikh Qubat al-Sakhra wa al-Masjid al-Aqsa [The History of the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque], Jerusalem, 1955.
Citation of this web page:
Nazmi Al-Ju'beh "Copper door panel" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2020. http://islamicart.museumwnf.org/database_item.php?id=object;ISL;pa;Mus01;24;en