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The Aga Khan Museum: Marble and Stucco - Ayyubid, 13th century CE  Place your mouse over the image
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Marble and Stucco

Object name

Syria or Mesopotamia

Ayyubid, 13th century CE


Materials and technique

Height 33 cm

Accession number


A scrolling vegetal design of palmette and split-palmette motifs, surrounding a pair of addorsed birds and a pair of animals resembling a cross between a sphinx and a griffin (facing opposite directions), has been carved in shallow relief onto each of the four largest panels of this capital, which is composed of an octagonal base and a square top. The decoration, in low-relief, covers all four sides of the capital. The interstitial triangular panels contain a more abstract interlacing scroll design. Similar vegetal ornament appears on works of diverse media, including a cast bronze element for suspension in the Nasser D. Khalili Collection, London (Rogers 2008, p. 101 [no. 111]); a carved wooden storage chest in the David Collection, Copenhagen (von Folsach 2001, p. 266 [no.428, inv. no. 3/1993]); and a candlestick in the Museum of Islamic Art, Doha (Allan 2002, pp. 42-3 [no. 8]). Similar animals embedded in scrolling ornament can be found on objects produced in the eastern Anatolian region, as suggested by sphinxes depicted in the roundels of a canteen in the Freer Gallery in Washington, D.C. (Atıl, Chase, and Jett 1985, pp. 124-36 [no. 17]).

Other similar artefacts

4 pieces found