Date: 10th century
Geography: Excavated in Iran, Nishapur
Medium: Stucco; painted
Dimensions: H. 13 9/16 in. (34.4 cm) W. 11 1/4 in. (28.6 cm) D: 5 3/4 in. (14.6cm) Wt. 5 lbs. (2.3 kg) wb
From the MET
This stucco piece together with the other two in the Met has pointed center top, curved in front of the viewers. The curved top part shows that this piece is probably originally part of a muqarnas, or stalactite squinch. Red lines are used to highlight the outline of the muqarnas with black curves in between. The background is painted in cobalt blue with symmetrical decoration elements on top. It bears red and white flat flowers and vines patterns.This piece in particular stands out for its painting with two suspicious eyes peering out among the vegetale decoration on the upper part.
Those muqarnas elements would have been stacked, in descending size, in the upper corner of a room in order to make the transition to a dome. This, together with the other two, is among the earliest known examples of muqarnas, a feature that became quite popular in Islamic architecture in subsequent centuries. The painting on these elements is intriguing, with disembodied eyes that peer out from the vegetal decoration.
“Collection.” The Metropolitan Museum of Art, I.e. The Met Museum. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Mar. 2017.