Name of Object:

Ceramic tile panel


Cairo, Egypt

Holding Museum:

Museum of Islamic Art

 About Museum of Islamic Art, Cairo

Date of Object:

Hegira 1087 / AD 1676

Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Ceramic tiles with painted underglaze decoration; transparent glaze overall.


Height 240 cm, width 144 cm

Period / Dynasty:



A ceramic tile panel composed of square tiles depicting the Ka'ba covered by the black kiswa. Architectural components in the Ottoman style are also depicted including doors, domed buildings, minarets, and arches with suspended lamps hanging from them. In the bottom right-hand corner of the panel is the date of production AH 1087 (AD 1676). This date is also written in Arabic letters on the panel reading 'bidars Sulayman'. Traditionally one way for writing dates would be in letter-form in a sort of cipher named hisab al-gummal (Calculation of total numbers), each letter being equivalent to a certain numerical figure, for example the Arabic letter ( ر ) is equivalent to 200. This tile panel closely resembles another tile piece in the Museum of Islamic Art in Cairo (reg. no. 860) which bears the signature of the craftsman who made it, Muhammad al-Shami, and the date AH 1139 (AD 1726), it also has similarities to a frontispiece panel of a Qur'an that dates to the Ottoman period and which also bears a depiction of the Holy Ka'ba of Mecca.

View Short Description

Muslim artisans did their best to depict the Ka'ba, the holy Islamic sanctuary, on their products. This panel bears the name of the sultan, the date of production and its maker's signature.

How date and origin were established:

This piece was dated based on the date recorded on it.

How Object was obtained:

The piece was donated to the Museum in November 1915 by Prince Yusuf Kamal, who was one of the princes of the family of Muhammad 'Ali and a delaer in antiques. He donated a large collection of his acquisitions to the museum especially jewellery, textiles, ceramic and wooden pieces.

How provenance was established:

It is strongly believed that this tile panel was made in Istanbul where such panels were produced centrally.

Selected bibliography:

Arseven, G. E., L'Art turc depuis son origine jusqu'à nos jours, Istanbul, 1935.
Aslanapa, O., Turkish Art and Architecture, London, 1970.
Atasoy, N., and Raby, J., Iznik: The Pottery of Ottoman Turkey, London, 1989.
Denny, W. B., “Ceramics” in Turkish Art, (ed. E. Atil), Washington D. C., 1980.
Maher, Su'ad M., al-Khazaf al-Turki [Turkish Ceramics], Cairo, 1960.
Mostafa, M., “Khazaf al-Anadol al-Mumawah bi al-Mina [Enamelled Ceramics of Anatolia]” in Al-Mar'a al-Jadida [New Woman Magazine], No. 2, Cairo, 1947.
Porter, V., Islamic Tiles, New York, 1995.

Citation of this web page:

Muhammad Abbas Muhammad Selim "Ceramic tile panel" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2021.;ISL;eg;Mus01;33;en

Prepared by: Muhammad Abbas Muhammad Selim
Copyedited by: Majd Musa
Translation by: Amal Sachedina (from the Arabic).
Translation copyedited by: Mandi Gomez

MWNF Working Number: ET 59