Name of Object:

Fountain mouth


Setif, Algeria

Holding Museum:

National Museum of Setif

About National Museum of Setif, Setif

Date of Object:

Hegira 406–547 / AD 1015–1152

Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Sculpted ochre stone.


Height 12.5 cm, length 25.5 cm, width 10.5 cm

Period / Dynasty:



Qal’at Bani Hammad, Algeria.


A lion, ochre in colour, sculpted in stone as if lying on its four legs. The head, huge and rounded, is disproportionate in relation to the body. The face shows two globular eyes surmounted by thick eyebrows, a large muzzle and an open jaw full of teeth that protrude onto the cheeks. A mane in the form of leaves gently overlapping each other and forming a sort of pinecone, stretches along the back. The tail lies along the right flank. The lion's paws appear thin. The very stylised whole demonstrates rather clumsy execution.
This lion formed the mouth of a fountain, from which water spouted.

View Short Description

Fountain spout in the shape of a lying lion noteworthy for the clumsiness of its execution: disproportionate head, protruding eyes, thick eyebrows, mouth open around excessively long teeth and thin paws. The mane resembles a pinecone and the tail is flattened against its right-hand side.

How date and origin were established:

Found in the site of the Qal'at Bani Hammad.

How Object was obtained:

Gift from P. Massiera.

How provenance was established:

Golvin specifies that this fountain mouth was offered to the museum of Setif by P. Massiera, who brought it from the site of the Qal'at Bani Hammad.

Selected bibliography:

Bourouiba, R., Les H'ammadites, Algiers, 1984.
Golvin, L., Recherches archéologiques à la Qal'a des Banû Hammâd, Paris, 1965.

Citation of this web page:

Leila Merabet "Fountain mouth" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2020.;ISL;dz;Mus01;15;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
Translation by: Maria Vlotides
Translation copyedited by: Monica Allen

MWNF Working Number: AL 22


Related monuments

 Artistic Introduction

 Timeline for this item

Islamic Dynasties / Period


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