The Ayyubid tradition for inlaid, carved wood doors, cenotaphs (funerary monuments), and minibars (pulpits) was continued under the Mamluks and refined with the addition of carved ivory inlays set into precious woods. Polygonal, star-shaped elements were cut and carved separately to be later assembled into large compositions based on geometric patterns with radiating stars.

This polygonal ivory plaque (one of three in the collection), is characteristic of the fully developed style of Mamluk carving. A beaded trefoil medallion is set against graceful floral scrolls with split leaves. The plaque would have formed a point in a star pattern, part of a larger composition used to adorn a door or pulpit.
Artist Islamic, Egyptian
  • Element from an Inlaid Door
Date 1300's
Medium ivory or bone, softwood, and ebony
Dimensions Overall: 3 1/4 × 5 3/8 × 5/8 inches (8.3 × 13.7 × 1.6 cm)
Credit Line Gift of Kirkor Minassian
Accession Number 27.593
Department Islamic Art
On View Islamic N120, Level 1 (see map)
Kirkor Minassian, Esq.;
1927-present, gift to the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)
Henshaw, Julia P., ed. A Visitors Guide: The Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit 1995), p. 124 (ill.).