Monday, January 11, 2016

Our Treasures Abroad, London: Eight Decorative Abbasid Wooden Beams Recovered by Egypt

According to the antiquities ministry, all the legal procedures were followed to prove that the beams belonged to Egypt. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

Egypt succeeded on Sunday to stop the sale of a collection of wooden decorative elements that were put on sale in Bonham's auction hall in London.

Minister of Antiquities Mamdouh Eldamaty said that the elements, which consist of eight wooden beams inscribed with verses from the Quran, had been stolen from the Abbasid caliphs dome in downtown Cairo and illegally smuggled out of the country.

Ali Ahmed, director of the antiquities recuperation department, said that the ministry took all the legal measures to prove its possession, adding that the beams would return back to Egypt within two weeks.

Ahmed explained that the dome of the Abbasid caliphs is a square structure with three entrances located behind the Al-Sayeda Nafissa shrine in downtown Cairo.

The dome was built to be the burial place for the Abbasid caliphs who died in Egypt between the 7th and 8th century, as well as for the sons of the Mamluk Bahari Sultan Al-Zahir Baybars.

The dome is very well preserved and it is decorated with distinguished inscriptions and stalactites. It has three entrances with the main one positioned in the northwest façade. 

It also has three free sides but the fourth one has a niche adjacent to Al-Sayeda Nafissa shrine.

All the facades are adorned with recesses and keel arches. A mihrab crowned with a keel arch exists inside the dome, while there are eight sarcophagi underneath the dome.

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