Name of Object:

Monetary weight (sandja)


Constantine, Algeria

Holding Museum:

National Museum of Cirta

About National Museum of Cirta, Constantine

Date of Object:

Hegira 407–547 / AD 1015–1152

Museum Inventory Number:

4H Ve 238

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Pâte de verre, stamped.


Diameter 2.5 cm, thickness 0.45 cm, weight 5 g

Period / Dynasty:



Qal’at Bani Hammad, Algeria.


A token that is round in form and of a green colour. One side has been pressed with a stamp whose cursive characters could be translated to mean: 'The supreme power belongs to God Abdesslam'. The seal sits within a circle that has not been well centred, whose left edge shows signs of having been milled.
Researchers differ as to the exact use of these discs. Some interpret them to be standards of monetary weights and measures, while others believe that these pieces of pâte de verre substituted for copper coins or even commercial weights. Laily (see Bibliography) considers this disc to be a controlling standard that is equivalent in weight to two dirham.

View Short Description

A round, greenish token with one face stamped with cursive characters expressing the omnipotence of God and an off-centre seal with granulations on its left edge. This may be a master weight for measuring coins or goods, or even a substitute for copper coins.

How date and origin were established:

Found in the Qal'at Bani Hammad (5th–6th / 11th–12th centuries).

How Object was obtained:

Blanchet excavations, 1897.

How provenance was established:

Blanchet excavations, 1897.

Selected bibliography:

Beylié, général de, La Kalaa des Beni Hammad, une capitale berbère de l'Afrique du Nord au XIe siècle, Paris, 1909.
Bourouiba, R., Les H'ammadites, Algiers, 1984.
Laily, P. A., La collection des poids en verre polychrome du musée de Cirta, Constantine, études et recherches, Algiers, 1983.

Citation of this web page:

Leila Merabet "Monetary weight (sandja)" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2020.;ISL;dz;Mus01;11;en

Prepared by: Leila MerabetLeila Merabet

Titulaire d'un magister en archéologie islamique (spécialité épigraphie arabe), conservateur du patrimoine archéologique et historique, Leila Merabet est chef du service Conservation et Valorisation (section islamique) au Musée national des antiquités. Elle a publié de nombreux articles dans les Annales du Musée national des antiquités.

Copyedited by: Margot Cortez

MWNF Working Number: AL 15


Related monuments

 Artistic Introduction

 Timeline for this item

Islamic Dynasties / Period


On display in

MWNF Galleries

Glass Weights and measures


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