Egypt or Syria
Carved wood with traces of pigments and gilt; H. 4 1/2 in. (11.4 cm), W. 47 in. (119.4 cm)
Gift of V. Everit Macy, 1930 (30.112.3)
This long, narrow panel, certainly part of an architectural frieze running along the interior of a secular building, presents a neat cursive calligraphy set against a busy scrolling-vegetal background. The faint traces of gilt as well as red and blue pigment link this object to similar contemporaneous panels, which were often painted, mostly in red, ocher, green, and blue. The calligraphic inscription, a rather standard text on secular objects in all media, may have been dedicated to the patron of the building in which this panel was once installed. The extant sentence can be translated as "perpetual glory, lasting fortune, lucky destiny, continuous prosperity."