84
84

FROM THE COLLECTION OF OCTAVE BORELLI BEY (1849-1911)

A pair of Mamluk carved wood and ivory-inlaid panels, Egypt, 14th century, mounted as doors, 19th century
SALTAR AL LOTE
84

FROM THE COLLECTION OF OCTAVE BORELLI BEY (1849-1911)

A pair of Mamluk carved wood and ivory-inlaid panels, Egypt, 14th century, mounted as doors, 19th century
SALTAR AL LOTE

Details & Cataloguing

Arts of the Islamic World

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Londres

A pair of Mamluk carved wood and ivory-inlaid panels, Egypt, 14th century, mounted as doors, 19th century
each set with panels containing a stellar geometric composition of carved wooden polygons with interlacing palmettes and fine ivory borders, carved design of same period to reverse, a calligraphic panel above and decorative panel below, mounted in a later wood frame set with an openwork iron lattice of split-palmettes, with functioning door handle, set within a framework carved throughout with a geometric lattice, featuring a panel containing a knotted Kufic inscription
doors: 207 by 45 by 6.5cm.
framework: 306.5 by 141 by 12cm. 
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Procedencia

Ex-Collection Octave Borelli Bey (1849-1911)
Thence by descent

Nota del catálogo

inscriptions

On the right panel: Qur’an, chapter XLVIII (al-fath), parts of verses 1 and 2.

On the left panel:
‘May there be glory and long-life for you
As long as there is a difference between morning and evening’

Panel above doors in knotted Kufic:
probably: al-hamdu li’llah ‘ala ni’mat al-islam
‘Praise be to God for the grace of Islam’

Of the highest quality, the Mamluk wooden panels comprising the centre of these doors present an outstanding example of wood carving of the period. Remarkably, the inscriptive panels framing the central design are from the same period, and mounted in the early twentieth century in an elegant Orientalising mount.

The exhibition of similar Mamluk carved wood polygonal elements at the much celebrated Die Meisterwerke für Muhammedanischer Kunst exhibition in Munich in 1910, suggest that towards the end of the nineteenth century there was a revival of interest for such pieces, which originally formed part of a door or minbar (see Die Meisterwerke für Muhammedanischer Kunst , Munich, 1910-12, Tafel 250, kat. no. 2199). A number of further examples identical to the Munich elements are now in Museum collections such as the British Museum (inv. no. 1943/10-12) and the Cairo Museum (inv. no. 2877).

Each of the polygonal elements making up these doors are intricately carved with flowing, interwoven palmettes characteristic of the time and stylistically close to examples on the minbar of the mosque of Al-Nasfi Qaisun in Cairo of 730 AH/1329 AD (E. Prisse d’Avennes, Arab Art, London, 1983, p.107, pl.85-6). The complexity of the geometric design into which these interlocking polygons are set is representative of Islamic mathematical notions, as Richard Yeomans so beautifully states: “In its momentum toward infinity, Islamic geometry is essentially sublime, unlike Greek classicism which expresses beauty and perfection in the repose of the finite” (Yeomans  2006, p.179).

Arts of the Islamic World

|
Londres