The inscription on these panels is from the Throne verse (Qur'an II, sura al-baqara, v.255 (part)).
In the 18th and 19th century, the fashion for richly decorated interiors gained enormous popularity in Damascus. Adapting a Western European style to more traditional Near-Eastern wooden interiors, the Damascene notables initiated a taste for richly decorated rooms permeated with various influences and involving many sophisticated techniques.
The interest for these panelled rooms and the fashion for collecting them can be traced back to the 19th century when they were sought after in particular for the residences of Western consuls to Damascus but also brought back to Europe and incorporated into Western interiors from around 1850. Those purchased in the mid-20th century by the Armenian Hagop Kevorkian and the Lebanese Henri Pharaon are now standing in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and in the splendid Demeure of Henri Pharaon in Beirut. The present panels recalls in many aspects the salon doré of the latter's house whose walls bear the date of 1772 AD (Demeure de M. Henri Pharaon, Comité de la Société latine de bienfaisance, Beirut).
For more complete examples of Damascus rooms, including two dated AH 1214/1799-1800 AD, and AH 122(0)/1805-6 AD, see Christie's, King Street Rooms, 6 October 2009, lot 225, 10 April 2010, lot 265 and 5 October 2010, lot 332. .