Egypt retrieves stolen Abbasid era decorative plaques from London

Nevine El-Aref , Wednesday 1 Jun 2016

A stolen set of engraved wooden plaques from Egypt's Abbasid era was handed over to the Egyptian embassy in London

The set of wooden engraving

A set of eight engraved wooden plaques that was stolen from the Dome of the Abbasid Caliphs in Cairo's Sayyeda Nafisa district were handed over to the Egyptian embassy in London after being missing for four years.

Shaaban Abdel-Gawad, the supervisor of the Antiquities Repatriation Department at the antiquities ministry, told Ahram Online that the plaques were stolen in 2012 during the lack of security that followed the January 2011 revolution.

The plaques were put up for sale in Bonhams auction hall and the antiquities ministry monitored the transaction and managed to stop the sale after proving Egypt's claim over the artefacts. The plaques are set to arrive in Egypt within three weeks.

The Dome of the Abbasid Caliphs is built on a square platform with three entrances neighbouring the mausoleum of Sayyeda Nafisa. The facade is adorned with recesses and keel arches. The interior on the southeast side holds a mihrab, or niche pointing towards Mecca, crowned with a keel arch.

The dome houses the corpses of the Abbassid caliphs, who ruled Egypt during the seventh and eighth centuries on the Islamic calendar.

It also holds the corpses of the sons of Al-Zaher Baybars Albunduqdari. The dome is ornately decorated with verses from the Quran as well as foliage and geometrical decoration motifs.


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