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date: 22 October 2019

Ceilings in Islamic architecturelocked

  • Margaret Graves


Upper interior surface of a room. Many different types of ceiling are found in Islamic architecture, including Coffering, Artesonado, and Muqarnas. Only fragments survive from a few wooden ceilings in the early hypostyle mosques of the central and western Islamic lands. Beams from the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem (8th century; see Jerusalem §II 1., (iv)) are carved with a great variety of vegetal, geometric, and architectural motifs. The Mosque of Ibn Tulun (879) in Cairo (see Cairo §III 2.) had a flat wooden ceiling with a narrow wooden frieze nailed to the top of the arcades supporting the roof. Measuring almost 2 km Córdoba §3, (i) in length, the frieze was inscribed with verses from the Koran. The wooden ceiling from the Great Mosque of Córdoba (see) as extended in the 960s and 980s was dismantled in the early 18th century and later replaced. The ceiling comprised closely placed transverse beams supporting planks, the whole protected by a gabled roof covered with tile to allow an insulating layer of air between ceiling and roof to keep the interior cool. More than 50 fragments of the carved and painted beams from the original ceiling have survived in museums (e.g., Copenhagen, Davids Saml. 2/...

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