Painted Dado Panels

Object Name: Panels

Date: 9th century

Geography: Excavated in Iran, Nishapur

Medium: Stucco; painted

Dimensions: H. 40 3/8 in. (102.6 cm)
W. 53 1/2 in. (135.9 cm)
D. 2 in. (5.1 cm)
Wt. 195 lbs. (88.5 kg)

Classification: Stucco

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1940

Accession Number: 40.170.176


This dado panel was excavated from a room in the Tepe Madrasa area of Nishapur that once had a lively scheme of painted decoration. The upper section of the wall was colored a deep red, followed by a short horizontal frieze of hexagons and diamonds underneath, and then this four-foot high dado with a frieze of alternating square and rectangular panels. Each panel in the dado was framed with blue, red, and white lines; the rectangular panels were filled with a pattern akin to quartersawn marble, and the square panels had a variety of feathery shapes, scale-covered elements, and interlaced ribbons ending in stylized eyes and hands. This symbolism has no known parallels outside Nishapur, although amulets in the shape of eyes and hands were used to ward off the evil eye. It seems unlikely, however, that this basic interpretation encompasses the whole meaning of the present work.