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muqarna (pl. muqarnas). Decorative device in Islamic architecture, like a small pointed niche, used in tiers projecting over those below, usually constructed of corbelled brick, stone, stucco, or wood. Muqarnas were applied to cornices, pendentives, squinches, and the soffits of arches and vaults: with their scalloped surfaces and pendants they present a very rich sight when seen from below, sometimes resembling an effect like stalactites. The most spectacular muqarnas may be found in C14 rooms in the Alhambra, Granada, Spain, and in the C15 dome of the mausoleum of Sultan Qa'itbay, Cairo, Egypt.
Jane Turner (1996)