© The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Name of Object:

Panel from a cenotaph or symbolic coffin with marquetry decoration


New York, United States of America

Holding Museum:

The Metropolitan Museum of Art


Hegira 2nd century / AD second half 8th century

Type of object:


Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Wood (fig); mosaic with bone and four different types of wood

Period / Dynasty:



Probably Egypt


The most complete surviving example of its kind, this panel likely comes from a side of a cenotaph or from a box for a multivolume Qur’an. Similarities with a panel in the collection of the Museum of Islamic Art, Cairo suggest that the two may have decorated the long sides of one structure at the ‘Ayn al‑Sira cemetery in Egypt. In addition to their common composition of fig wood inlaid with ivory and other types of wood, both panels incorporate decorative elements from the Late Antique and Sasanian traditions. The geometric motifs derive directly from Roman mosaics, whereas the winglike designs in the arch spandrels are of Sasanian derivation.

Additional Copyright Information:

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Samuel D. Lee Fund, 1937

Citation of this web page:

 "Panel from a cenotaph or symbolic coffin with marquetry decoration" in Explore Islamic Art Collections , Museum With No Frontiers, 2018. http://www.museumwnf.org/thematicgallery/thg_galleries/database_item.php?itemId=objects;EPM;us;Mus23;20;en&id=mosaics

MWNF Working Number: US3 20

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