Elaborately carved rosewood cabinet with embossed, pierced and enamelled brass door panels
Kashmir, circa 1890
The rosewood cabinet is densely carved with flower motifs, meandering branches, elephants, deer and stylised vegetation. Its curved dome with spindled galleries on either side surmounts an arrangement of drawers, open arches and doors inset with stippled, pierced and enamelled brass doors.
One of those screens, which copied the carving from mosques in Ahmedabad, contained two windows of perforated brass, thus incorporating engraved and pierced brass panels into wooden furniture just like this cabinet. In this context it is useful to mention that Lockwood de Forest had established a woodcarving workshop in Ahmedabad, from where he exported richly carved furniture to the US.
The enamelling on the panels and more specifically the combination of cobalt blue and turquoise, however, suggests a more Northern origin and points in the direction of Kashmir.
Qalamdan (pen-case or pen-box) from Abbasid and Ottoman empires
The bottom picture is the tools of an Ottoman katib (read the caption to know which tool is which). The pen-case has an ink well which holds silk fibers soaked with ink and dried to which drops of water can be added when needed. If you look closely at the pen-rest, there is a raised and grooved part for the reed pen to rest. The groove was designed in a way that the tip of the reed pen could be trimmed at an angle consistently each time. The handles of the scissors were shaped to bear one of the names of Allah “Ya Fattah!” (O He Who opens!).
Great Mosque of Samarra / Jami al-Mutawakkil
Patron: Caliph al-Mutawakki
Abbasid period, 847-61 AD
In 836 AD, the Abbasid Caliph al-Mu’t, wishing to escape conflict with the local population in Baghdad, moved to Samarra, which remained the seat of power for the Abbasids for next 56 years, a period during which the largest mosque in all of Islam was built at Samarra.
The Great Mosque of Samarra was at one time the largest mosque in the world; its minaret, the Malwiya Tower, is a vast spiralling cone 52 meters high and 33 meters wide with a spiral ramp. The mosque had 17 aisles, and its walls were panelled with mosaics of dark blue glass.
The Art of Parchin Kari – Marble Inlay
The parchin kari at the Taj Mahal is one of the finest quality examples of the era. At the Taj, the technique is used most spectacularly to depict well observed blooms and flowering plants. Similar to the Italian technique known as ‘pietre dure’, a variety of colored stones including lapis lazuli, carnelian, agate and garnet, were used to achieve stunning depictions of the colorful flowers of India. Even greater detail was achieved by carefully choosing pieces of each gemstone with differing tones. This variety of hues enabled the craftsmen to give the impression of shading and depth in each flower.
Bahram Gur and his Seven Princesses, from a Khamsa of Nizami. Shiraz, Iran, 1548.
I’ve posted a couple of these before, but I thought it would be nice to put the whole set together.
Seyit UYGUR - Ebru Artist
New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art reopened the museum’s Islamic art galleries to display roughly 1,200 works spanning 13 centuries and dozens of Islamic-influenced cultures.
One highlight is the Damascus Room, a 26-foot-long reception room built in 1707 for a wealthy Syrian family. Take a look around using the navigation controls and click the points to see additional photos and hear interview excerpts with Met curator Navina Haidar.
Note: The Panoramic Tour of the Damascus Room is provided by The Wall Street Journal and is hosted on their servers. The image shown above is by Nick Harbaugh/The New York Times.
Calligraphic Panel - Mughal Tile Work (by ||| Tammie)
A small portion of a larger calligraphic panel, this tile work is a technique that was mastered by the Mughals, and comprises individually cut-out pieces of glazed tile which were fitted together like a mozaic. Called ‘Kashikari’, this example is on the east-facing façade of the main prayer chamber of the Wazir Khan Mosque. It dates back to 1634 under the reign of Shah Jahan, but may have undergone sympathetic restoration some time in the 20th Century. Hairline cracks are now appearing on the white-glazed areas, but the thicker original cuts can still be identified, dividing the larger white areas into more manageable smaller pieces.
Source: Flickr / tammiezb
The stunning Nasir al-mulk Mosque hides a gorgeous secret between the walls of its fairly traditional exterior: stepping inside is like walking into a kaleidoscope of colors. Every day, the rays of the early morning sun shine through colorful stained-glass windows, transforming the halls into a dazzling wonderland of rich hues, patterns, and light that play on the floor of the mosque.