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Creator Qualifier: Attributed to
Creator Nationality: Asian; Middle Eastern; Syrian
Creator Active Place: Damascus, Syria
Creator Name-CRT: Attributed to Damascus, Syria
Title: Period room
Title Type: Object name
Title: Nur al-Din Room
Creation Start Date: 1119
Creation End Date: 1707
Creation Date: dated 1119 A.H. / A.D. 1707
Object Type: Architecture
Classification Term: Woodwork
Materials and Techniques: Wood, marble, stucco, glass, mother-of-pearl, ceramics, tile, stone, iron, colors, gold
Dimensions: H. 22 ft. 1/2 in. x 16 ft. 8 1/2 in. (671.6 x 509.2 cm), D. from inside front entrance to back wall 26 ft. 4 3/4 in. (804.2 cm)
AMICA Contributor: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 1970.170
Credit Line: Gift of The Hagop Kevorkian Fund, 1970
The Nur al-Din room of A.D. 1707 is from an upper-class Syrian home of the Ottoman period. Such houses contained two reception areas, those open to the courtyard for the warm season and those inside for the cold months. As was customary in Islamic lands, these rooms were reserved for the master of the house and his guests.
The winter reception room of the Nur al-Din house is made up of two parts. One entered through a narrow passage into an inner courtyard with a bubbling fountain. The floors and fountain are made of inlaid colored marble. Servants were stationed here to make coffee and to prepare the water pipe and the braziers that warmed the winter air. Guests also left their shoes here before ascending the high step under the archway into the reception room proper, where they were invited to recline on the divan cushions. Everyone was completely cut off from the outside world in this calm setting, created by the sound of soft splashing water and by the soothing light that filtered through the stained-glass windows. Even in the hottest weather, the atmosphere remained inviting.
The open niches served for storing books, hubble-bubbles, and a collection of ceramics and metalwork, and the closets held mats and bedding. The shutters over the lower windows are such an integral part of the paneling that they are not noticeable when closed; when opened, fresh air passed through the window grills.
The wooden panels are ornamented with raised designs made of gesso, mainly in floral patterns or poetic inscriptions in Arabic. These are then painted in a limited palette of colors, dominated by gold and, to a lesser degree, by silver. The flat ceiling over the reception area and the beams over the courtyard are decorated in the same manner but in a slightly richer fashion.
AMICA ID: MMA_.1970.170
AMICA Library Year: 2000
Media Metadata Rights:
Copyright The Metropolitan Museum of Art
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