Inscribed panel

Building inscription, in alabaster-like stone, carved in form of a mihrab with various frames enclosing two arches, all filled with Kufi and Naskhi inscriptions; commemorating the building of the mosque of ‘Ali b. Musa al-Riza in Mashad (Meshed) by order of Junaid b. ‘Ammar b. al-‘Al…Rough edges, small section broken off on the lower corners; small nick on the right support of outer arch.

Historical period(s)
1154-1155
Medium
Marble
Dimensions
H x W x D: 92.5 × 68.8 × 11.4 cm (36 7/16 × 27 1/16 × 4 1/2 in)
Geography
Iran
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1948.16
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Architectural Element, Stone
Type

Mihrab

Keywords
architecture, Imam, Iran, Islam, kufic script, naskh script, WWII-era provenance
Provenance
Provenance information is currently unavailable
Description

Building inscription, in alabaster-like stone, carved in form of a mihrab with various frames enclosing two arches, all filled with Kufi and Naskhi inscriptions; commemorating the building of the mosque of 'Ali b. Musa al-Riza in Mashad (Meshed) by order of Junaid b. 'Ammar b. al-'Al...Rough edges, small section broken off on the lower corners; small nick on the right support of outer arch.

Label

This intricately carved panel records the construction of a mosque associated with the shrine complex of Imam Riza, the eighth imam, or spiritual leader, of the Shia branch of Islam, who died in 818. Located in Mashhad, in northeastern Iran, the shrine is one of the holiest sites in Islam.

The panel is shaped like a mihrab, or niche, which traditionally marks the direction of Mecca in mosques, and is inscribed with a variety of scripts organized in carefully delineated bands. The inscription includes the name of the patron, a certain Junayd b. Ammar al-Ala, as well as the name of the artist, Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Ahmad Usaid. In addition, the panel is inscribed with Qur'anic verses from sura 32 and the names and attributes of the twelve Shi'ite imams. Neither the original structure, to which the panel refers, nor its precise location in the shrine complex is known.

Published References
  • Studia Iranica. tome 2, fasc. 2 Paris. pl. XLIII.
  • Dr. Esin Atil. Exhibition of 2500 Years of Persian Art. Exh. cat. Washington, 1971. cat. 83, p. 24.
  • Washington Post and Times Herald., March 3, 1955. Washington. p. 44.
  • Fu Shen, Glenn D. Lowry, Ann Yonemura, Thomas Lawton. From Concept to Context: Approaches to Asian and Islamic Calligraphy. Exh. cat. Washington. cat. 38, pp. 104, 105, 107, 114-115.
  • Yasser Ahmad Al-Tabba. The Transformation of Arabic Writing: Part 2: The Public Text. no. 24 Washington and Ann Arbor. pp. 129-130, fig. 12.
Collection Area(s)
Arts of the Islamic World
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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