Inscribed panel


Historical period(s)
H x W x D: 92.5 × 68.8 × 11.4 cm (36 7/16 × 27 1/16 × 4 1/2 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Architectural Element, Stone


architecture, Imam, Iran, Islam, kufic script, naskh script, WWII-era provenance
Provenance information is currently unavailable
Previous Owner(s)

Heeramaneck Galleries


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
  • 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.
  • Dr. Esin Atil. Exhibition of 2500 Years of Persian Art. Exh. cat. Washington, 1971. cat. 83, p. 24.
  • Studia Iranica. tome 2, fasc. 2 Paris. pl. XLIII.
  • Washington Post and Times Herald., March 3, 1955. Washington. p. 44.
  • 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
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum