Only two similar chairs to that offered here are known. One of the published examples, catalogued as 16th century, is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, donated to them by William H. Riggs in 1913 (Otto Kurz, 'Folding Chairs and Koran Stands' in Richard Ettinghausen (ed.), Islamic Art in the Metropolitan Museum of Art New York, 1972, no. 10, pp.304-05). The other, catalogued as 14th-15th century, is the Museo de la Alhambra in Granada (Arte Islamico en Granada, exhibition catalogue, Granada, 1996, no.188, pp.436-37). Both are identical to ours in form and decoration. Coming, as it does, with a carbon date test, ours adds an important third to the small group. With 95 probability that it dates from 1470-1670, it casts light on the extant group, suggesting a broad but slightly adjusted cataloguing of late Nasrid or Post-Nasrid with a terminus anti quem slightly later than might otherwise be expected.
A painting in the National Portrait Gallery by Gerlach Flicke of Thomas Cranmer, archbishop of Canterbury, gives some help in limiting this broad dating. Painted in 1546, it shows the archbishop seated in a very similar chair and gives an idea of when the type of chair was in vogue.
The technique of taracea, of micromosaic inlay was used in Spain and North Africa - appearing in the minbar of the Great Mosque of Cordoba on its enlargement under al-Hakim II (961-976). Caliphal marquetry workshops continued to execute court commissions uner the Almoravids and the Almohads and contributed to the splendour of the minbars in the Qarawiyyin mosque in Fez and those of Kutubiyya and the Qasba mosques in Marrakech (Jerrilyn D. Dodds, Al-Andalus, The Art of Islamic Spain, New York, 1992, p.373). The technique remained in fashion until the end of the 16th Century, again confirm a date of the 16th century or earlier.
In his article on folding chairs and Qur'an stands, Kurz traces the history of the form from its earliest manifestation in Ancient Egyptian reliefs and paintings (2040-1778 BC), through the Ancient Greek and Roman period and the Islamic world in the 12th and 13th centuries, where Persian paintings from the period and into the early 15th century are found with such chairs depicted (see for instance a miniature of Sultan Sanjar enthroned, circa 1425, in the Walters Art Gallery in Baltimore and published by Kurz, op.cit., p.303).
A carbon date on a sample from this chair, performed by RCD RadioCarbon dating, reference RCD-7382, on 3 August 2010, gives a 68 probability of 1510-1600 plus 1610-1650, and a 95 probability of 1470-1670.