This beam is a rare example of decorative carved wood surviving from Egypt before the Fatimids (909–1171). Although we do not know its original function, the beam was originally part of a longer frieze of Qur’anic inscriptions (here containing verses Q67: 13–14). The Arabic letters are carved in a heavy, angular Kufic script with decorative pointed finials. The fashion for similar wooden beams with carved Qur’anic inscriptions can still be seen in the Mosque of Ibn Tulun built during the Tulunid dynasty (868–905) that governed Egypt under the Abbasids (750–1258). The austere exterior of the mosque is contrasted by the architectural decoration of its interior, which features carved plaster (stucco) and wooden beams with elaborate decorative patterns and inscriptions.
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