The artifact, originating from the Late Medieval period circa 1225 CE (7th century AH) in Cairo, is derived from the mausoleum of Sayyid Nafisah and is comprised of two sections: a portable wooden mihrab and a door.

The mihrab, a significant aspect of Islamic religious architecture that denotes the direction of Mecca, displays geometric patterns and inscriptions and is constructed from linden wood. It measures 3.5 meters in height and 1.75 meters in width. Its preserved lattice design features intersecting circles, six-pointed stars, and polyhedral forms, echoing the decorative motifs prevalent in the Great Mosque of Samarra, indicative of Abbasid influences.

Arabic inscriptions seen in the borders are excerpts from the Quran, engraved in precise Kufic calligraphy. The mihrab’s portability suggest it was likely utilized for prayer during travel, indicating its spiritual significance and practical nature.

The door, associated with the same mausoleum, measures approximately 2.4 meters in height and 1.5 meters in width. Its design includes interlacing kinematic patterns, typifying Islamic ornamental styles. Each panel has been skillfully connected without nails, featuring a central band of inscription bearing Quranic verses.

Additional adornments on the door include rosettes, foliage motifs, and hexagonal designs, visually aligning with the mihrab. The slight color differences can be attributed to the aging of different plywood layers, enhancing the visual effect without disrupting the overall aesthetic cohesion.

Museum of Islamic Art, Cairo
Mosque of Mohammed Ali