INSIGHT INTO A SOPHISTICATED PAINTING TECHNIQUE: THREE POLYCHROME WOODEN INTERIORS FROM OTTOMAN SYRIA IN GERMAN COLLECTIONS AND FIELD RESEARCH IN DAMASCUS

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Publication Type:

Journal Article

Authors:

Scharrahs, Anke;

Source:

Studies in Conservation, Volume 55, Number Supplement 2, p.134-139 (2010)

Abstract:

Among the highlights of the Islamic art collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art is the earliest surviving reception room from Damascus (AH 1119 /AD 1707), known as the Nur al-Din Room. The wooden paneling and ceilings of this interior are embellished with gesso relief decoration, called 'ajami, which is gilded, tin-leafed, glazed and painted to create a complex interplay of reflective or matte and intensely colored surfaces. As in many such rooms, the current appearance no longer reflects the original aesthetic, largely due to later varnishes that have darkened. This paper presents the results of a thorough study of the Room's materials and manufacturing techniques. The investigation, combined with research into its history and the study of Ottoman interiors in their original settings, enables a more accurate reinstallation and presentation of the room in the newly renovated galleries for Islamic art.