Name of Object:

Teak Panel


London, England, United Kingdom

Holding Museum:

The British Museum


Hegira 3rd / AD 9th century

Type of object:

Woodwork, architectural decoration

Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Carved teak wood.


Height 13 cm width 73 cm

Period / Dynasty:



Samarra, Iraq.


A wooden panel of dark-brown teak wood. The surface is carved with an abstract design, known as the 'bevelled' style, a pattern of repeated curved shapes with bevelled edges, usually moulded rather than carved, probably derived from stylised vegetal forms. This type of design is typical of the Abbasid period and can also be found on stucco wall panels. This piece would have been part of a larger panel of carved wood used for furniture or doors. It is close in style to wood panels and stucco found at Samarra, capital of the Abbasid dynasty (AH 177–655 / AD 749–1258). Wood, particularly teak, was highly valued in Iraq and was probably imported from South East Asia.

View Short Description

How date and origin were established:

Through stylistic analysis: the 'bevelled' style was found on AH 3rd- / AD 9th-century architectural decoration from Samarra that was built in AH 221 / AD 836, and which was the Abbasid capital for only 37 years before the caliphate returned to Baghdad.

How Object was obtained:

Acquired by the British Museum in 1944, from the Collection of Sir Sydney Bernard Burney, through the National Art Collections fund.

How provenance was established:

The style of the carving resembles architectural decoration found at Samarra in Iraq.

Selected bibliography:

Ettinghausen, R. and Graber, O., The Art and Architecture of Islam: 650–1250, 1987, pp.102–9.

Northedge, A., 'Samarra', in Encyclopedia of Islam, 1995, pp.1039–41.

Citation of this web page:

Emily Shovelton "Teak Panel" in Discover Islamic Art , Museum With No Frontiers, 2019.;ISL;uk;Mus01;2;en&id=furniture_and_woodwork

Prepared by: Emily ShoveltonEmily Shovelton

Emily Shovelton is a historian of Islamic art. She studied history of art at Edinburgh University before completing an MA in Islamic and Indian art at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London. Since graduating she has worked on a number of projects at the British Museum. Other recent work includes editing and writing for a digital database of architectural photographs at the British Library. She is currently working on a Ph.D. on “Sultanate Painting in 15th-century India and its relationship to Persian, Mamluk and Indian Painting”, to be completed at SOAS in 2006. A paper on Sultanate painting given at the Conference of European Association of South Asian Archaeologists, held in the British Museum in July 2005, is due to be published next year.

Copyedited by: Mandi Gomez

MWNF Working Number: UK1 03