Name of Object:

Two fragments of wall-cladding


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):

Moulded and lustre-painted ceramic.


Element with geometric decoration: length 15 cm, width 14 cm ; element with epigraphic decoration: length 17 cm, width 15.5 cm

Period / Dynasty:



Qal’at Bani Hammad, Algeria.


These two fragments of ceramic wall-cladding with a metallic sheen originally took the form of a cross.
The geometric decoration consists of circles enclosing a motif that could be perceived as evoking either a fish or a flower on its stem, outlined in white with a paintbrush over an olive green background.
The epigraphic decoration features the inscription 'al-yumn' (prosperity), repeated several times, written in kufic characters and executed in white over a yellow background with a metallic sheen.
According to G. Marçais, 'this ceramic draws inspiration from the 'Abbasid east which, itself, borrows from old Semitic or Byzantine civilisations'.
In general, these crosses were linked to other elements, such as eight-cornered stars or lozenges, in order to form wall-cladding.

View Short Description

Fragments of lustre-painted ceramic wall-covering, one decorated with geometric patterns including a fish or flower motif brush-painted in white on a green background, while the other has the kufic inscription 'al-yumn' (prosperity) repeated several times in white on a yellow base.

How date and origin were established:

Fragments found in the Dar al-Bahr of the Qal'at Bani Hammad, which dates from the 5th–6th / 11th –12th centuries, according to Kitab al-Istibsar: 'The Banu Hammad built some important constructions in the qal'a … including [the palace] known as Dar al-Bahr, at the centre of which was a vast basin'.

How Object was obtained:

Archaeological repository (De Beylié excavations, 1908).

How provenance was established:

From the report of the De Beylié excavation, 1909.

Selected bibliography:

Beylié, général de, La Kalaa des Beni Hammad, une capitale berbère de l'Afrique du Nord au XIe siècle, Paris, 1909.
Golvin, L., Recherches archéologiques à la Qal'a des Banû Hammâd, Paris, 1965.
Marçais, G., L'architecture musulmane d'Occident, Paris, 1954.

Citation of this web page:

Houria Cherid "Two fragments of wall-cladding" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2020.;ISL;dz;Mus01;18;en

Prepared by: Houria CheridHouria Cherid

Titulaire d'un magister en archéologie islamique (1992), enseignante à l'Institut d'archéologie de l'université d'Alger de 1992 à 1999, conservateur du patrimoine archéologique et historique au Musée national des antiquités de 1994 à 2002, puis conservateur en chef à partir de 2002, Houria Cherid est chef du service Labo-photo, département Animation et Documentation au Musée national des antiquités. Elle a publié de nombreux articles dans les Annales du Musée national des antiquités et prépare actuellement un doctorat en archéologie islamique.

Copyedited by: Margot Cortez
Translation by: Maria Vlotides
Translation copyedited by: Monica Allen

MWNF Working Number: AL 25


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On display in

Discover Islamic Art Exhibition(s)

The Muslim West | Andalusian-Maghrebi Art

MWNF Galleries

Calligraphy Ceramics


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