Name of Object:
London, England, United Kingdom
Victoria and Albert Museum
Date of Object:
Around hegira 872–901 / AD 1468–96
Museum Inventory Number:
Material(s) / Technique(s):
Wood inlaid with ivory and bone.
Height 708 cm, width 113 cm, depth 304 cm
Period / Dynasty:
A wooden minbar; a double door (surmounted by a muqarnas frieze with traces of painted floral decoration) opens to a staircase of seven steps, at the top of which is a small landing topped by an onion-shaped dome. Almost all the exterior surfaces of the minbar are decorated with geometric patterns using wood inlaid with ivory plaques like a mosaic. Some of these patterns are quite bold, such as the 16-pointed stars and polygons on the triangular side panels, while others are more dense and complex, such as the pattern on the twin doors of the entryway. The minbar bears several inscriptions on carved wood or ivory panels. Some are Qur'anic verses; for example, 33:56 and 16:90 (respectively) are found above the front and back of the minbar doors. Other inscriptions praise Sultan Qaytbay and wish him a long reign.
View Short Description
A wooden minbar (pulpit) with extensive all-over decoration including geometric patterns formed of inlaid ivory. This was probably used in one of the many mosques founded or renovated by Sultan Qaytbay, who presided over a period of great economic and artistic revival in the Mamluk lands.
How date and origin were established:
Inscriptions on the minbar name Qaytbay as Sultan and imply that he is still alive ('may God extend his rule'). Thus the minbar is dated to his regnal dates, AH 872–901 / AD 1468–96.
How Object was obtained:
Purchased by the Museum in 1869 from the collection of Dr Meymar.
How provenance was established:
How was provenance for object established: Cairo was the Mamluk capital and thus the likeliest place that an object of such quality would have been made.
Atil, E., Renaissance of Islam: Art of the Mamluks, Washington, DC, 1981, pp.195–6.
Citation of this web page:
Barry Wood "Minbar" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2019. http://islamicart.museumwnf.org/database_item.php?id=object;ISL;uk;Mus02;10;en
Prepared by: Barry Wood