An Umayyad carved inscribed wood Beam Egypt or Syria, 8th/ 9th Century
deeply carved with a frieze of kufic inscription against a ground of scrolling vine palmettes 106.5 cm. long; 14.6 cm. wide; 8.5 cm. deep
The inscription comprises Qur'an, Chapter XLVIII (al-fath), parts of verse 2 (in bold below);
'And so, Allah will forgive you O Mohammed for what preceded of your sin and what will follow and complete His favour upon you and guide you to the straight path.'
The kufic inscription deciphered is from the chapter entitled 'The Victory', often associated with Muslim rulers, which leads one to believe that the beam came from the palace of a Muslim ruler or military leader. Stylistically, the single line of kufic against a background of what appears to be scrolling palmettes is characteristic of woodwork all the way from 8th Century Egypt to 15th Century Nasrid Spain. This is a particularly early example for which there are very few parallels.
This lot is accompanied by a Radio Carbon Dating Test (sample no.RCD -7376).