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Antique Inlay Picture Frame, Carved HELP to Identify?

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Posted 5 years ago

(210 items)

Need some help kids! Can anyone identify the origin of this Frame, It is inlay with numerous woods and mother pearl. Can't decipher the language ?? Its around 80-100 yrs old. Thanks!

Mystery Solved


  1. scottvez scottvez, 5 years ago
    The arch seen in several areas in the work is typical of Islamic architecture.

    The writing looks like an attempt at arabic. I spent several years in the Middle East and saw arabic writing daily. It looks close but also a little off! Maybe the work of someone not literate?

  2. DrFluffy DrFluffy, 5 years ago
    Agreed... I can make out the last 2 words... La Allah... But not sure the beginning..
  3. vetraio50 vetraio50, 5 years ago
    Hi Dizzydave!

    Nice one! Gotcaught in Omniglot for an age looking at variant Arabic alphabets and got lost:
    Arabic, Äynu, Azeri, Baluchi, Beja, Bosnian, Brahui, Crimean Tatar, Dari, Gilaki, Hausa, Kabyle, Karakalpak, Konkani, Kashmiri, Kazakh, Khowar, Kurdish, Kyrgyz, Malay, Marwari, Mandekan, Mazandarani | Morisco, Pashto, Persian/Farsi, Punjabi, Rajasthani, Salar, Saraiki, Shabaki, Sindhi, Somali, Tatar, Taus?g, Turkish, Urdu, Uyghur, Uzbek

    Blah Blah.

    Tried looking at the Photo. Reversing the image.
    Maybe it was just fake Arabic?

    Then I looked at the photo.

    Where was it from?
    The Alhambra.
    Court of the Lions?

    It's the Lion Fountain - el Patio de los Leones!

    "Some research suggests that the 11th century lions of the Lion Fountain come from the house of the Jewish vizier "Yusuf Ibn Nagrela" (1066). It is not known if they were made before his death, and at the time, he was accused of wanting to build a much bigger palace than the king's. They are large for sculptures of animals in Islamic art, but as in other sites of al Andaluz such as the earlier Medina Azahara near Cordoba, that there are multiple animals and that they are shown in a subordinate position, as carrying the bowl of the fountain, helps to dispel any possibility of an idolatrous intention, which was the concern of Muslim clergy. The Pisa Griffin is even larger.

    An almost exact description of the original fountain is still kept, written by the poet "Ibn Gabirol" (11th century): they represent the 12 tribes of Israel, two of them have a triangle on the forehead, indicating the two chosen tribes:" Judá" and "Leví". The Lions have recently been removed from the fountain for restoration, but will soon be back where they belong.

    The poet and minister Ibn Zamrak wrote a poem to describe the beauty of the courtyard. It is carved around the rim of the basin:
    Excerpt of Ibn Zamrak's poem on the basin.

    "...Such a translucent basin, sculpted pearl!
    Argentic ripples are added on it by the quiet dew
    And its liquid silver goes over the daisies, melted, and even purer.
    Hard and soft are so close, that it would be hard to distinguish
    liquid and solid, marble and water. Which one is running?
    Don't you see how water overflows the borders
    and the warned drains are here against it?
    They are like the lover who in vain"


  4. vetraio50 vetraio50, 5 years ago
    Perhaps Nadia could take another look?
  5. vetraio50 vetraio50, 5 years ago
  6. vetraio50 vetraio50, 5 years ago
    " la illah ila allah" ?
  7. vetraio50 vetraio50, 5 years ago
    Interesting that the partial prayer of the "Adhan" is repeated four times on the frame: "la ilaha illa llah". That is the number of times the phrase is repeated in the Shi'a version of the call to prayer by the Muezzin. In the Sunni version it appears three times.

    "Adhan is called out by a muezzin from the mosque five times a day, traditionally from the minaret, summoning Muslims for mandatory (fard) prayers (salah). A second call, known as iqama, (set up) then summons Muslims to line up for the beginning of the prayers."

    "la ilaha illa llah"

    It' almost a palindrome!
  8. Dizzydave Dizzydave, 5 years ago
    Hey vetraio50!! U are the Bomb!!!! with the description I'm pretty sure you could post the Meaning of Life!! LOL I never knew, it does have the "el Patio de los Leones" way down on the bottom, kind of covered by frame. I knew the Crew on Collectors Weekly could solve this one and "Bam" Vetraio50 comes through once again!! Thanks Kiddo!!
  9. DrFluffy DrFluffy, 5 years ago
    V.... I was actually thinking "la ilaha illa allah"... Which means there is not other god other than Allah. That was the very first thing that came to my mind when I saw it. I just couldn't read the first part. But it totally makes sense to have it on a frame like this.
  10. vetraio50 vetraio50, 5 years ago
    I was think too that it was like a round?
    The four incantations of the Adhan echo around the frame and into the halls of the Patio! A piece of concrete poetry! The photo joins in the frame in the chant.
  11. Dizzydave Dizzydave, 5 years ago
    It is a Great piece, I like the area in center that is all carved by hand to match the print arch. Both the frame and print are seamless in transition. Paid $100. bucks at a Estate Sale, I don't know if I over paid?? The lady had a black and white photo from the 20's showing it on a wall of a Aunt while she lived in Egypt.
  12. Dizzydave Dizzydave, 5 years ago
    Measures out a 8 x 14
  13. vetraio50 vetraio50, 5 years ago
    I'd have paid that for it. Great piece!

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