Name of Object:

Fragment of a monumental inscription from a gravestone


Berlin, Germany

Holding Museum:

Museum of Islamic Art at the Pergamon Museum

About Museum of Islamic Art at the Pergamon Museum, Berlin

Date of Object:

Hegira 3rd–4th centuries / AD 9th–10th centuries

Museum Inventory Number:

I. 4465

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Marble, kufic script in deep relief.


Height 56 cm, width 106 cm

Period / Dynasty:





The rectangular marble slab is the preserved right-hand side of a monumental inscription in kufic script, cut in deep relief. It consists of two lines of inscriptions in a condensed kufic font, enclosed within a wide, smooth frame. The left side of the slab shows a clean break, which suggests that the slab was immediately followed by another slab. The fragmented text came from a gravestone inscription, which began with the usual phrase ‘Here lies…’ located in the upper line, under which followed the month of the day of death ‘Djumada al-achira…’, and the word ‘three’, which is all that remains of the year. That is why the exact date cannot be reconstructed and determined. Each mark of the kufic script is drawn out in a compressed, heavy manner along a straight, invisible line. The ends of the hastae (letters Lam and Alif) become more pronounced and wedge-shaped towards the top. The lightly playful calligraphy of the Lam-Alif ligature is particularly noticeable.

View Short Description

The inscription of two lines on this marble panel from Fatimid Egypt is a good example of the use of the kufic script executed in a style which uses sharp cuts and shows the beginnings of an ornamental style for the single letters. The panel is from an unknown tombstone.

How date and origin were established:

A precise date for the object is not possible. The monumental inscription and the typography of the individual letters can be compared to other monumental inscriptions that were created in Egypt during the late Abbasid or Fatimid periods.

How Object was obtained:

From a gallery in Cairo 1907. Transferred from the Early Christian department.

How provenance was established:

The provenance has been established through comparison with other similar monumental inscriptions that are stated in the literature to be from Egypt. The fact that the artwork was acquired in Egypt adds further weight to it being from there.

Selected bibliography:

Enderlein, V., Wegleitung; Islamisches Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Rostock 1988, p.12, ill. 3.
Kühnel, E., Islamische Schriftkunst, Berlin; Leipzig, 1942, p.10, ill. 3.
Museum für Islamische Kunst, Catalogue, Mainz, 2001, p.30.

Citation of this web page:

Annette Hagedorn "Fragment of a monumental inscription from a gravestone" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2018.;ISL;de;Mus01;7;en

Prepared by: Annette Hagedorn
Translation by: Maria Vlotides, Brigitte Finkbeiner
Translation copyedited by: Monica Allen

MWNF Working Number: GE 11


Related monuments

 Artistic Introduction

 Timeline for this item

Islamic Dynasties / Period


On display in

MWNF Galleries

Calligraphy Funerary objects


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