Name of Object:

Monolithic column

Location:

M’sila, Algeria

Holding Museum:

Museum of M’sila (National Agency of Archaeology)

About Museum of M’sila (National Agency of Archaeology), M’sila

Date of Object:

Hegira 406–547 / AD 1015–1152

Museum Inventory Number:

211

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Sculpted grey marble.

Dimensions:

Height 69.3 cm, length 27 cm, width 11 cm

Period / Dynasty:

Hammadid

Provenance:

Palace of the Amirs (?), Qal’at Bani Hammad, Algeria.

Description:

A very simple monolithic column, sculpted from a block of grey marble. An undecorated shaft rises from a square base and is topped by a capital featuring three rows of acanthus leaves.
This component fulfils both a functional and a decorative role; it would have served to consolidate and support the construction whilst at the same time decorating one of the two sides of openings (windows).
The National Museum of Antiquities and Islamic Arts of Algiers houses another similar column.

View Short Description

Very simple, sculpted monolithic column. On top of the square base, a plain shaft is crowned with a capital decorated with three rows of acanthus leaves. This column was both functional and decorative: it supported the building while adorning the sides of the windows.

How date and origin were established:

The piece was found in the Qal'at Bani Hammad (5th–6th / 11th–12th centuries).

How Object was obtained:

Archaeological repository (De Beylié excavations, 1908).

How provenance was established:

According to General de Beylié, this column was donated by the local marabout (Muslim saint); it therefore probably once formed part of the Palace of the Amirs.

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., Cités disparues: Tahert, Sédrata, Achir, Kalaâ des Beni Hammad, Alger, 1982.
Bourouiba, R., Les H'ammadites, Alger, 1984.

Citation of this web page:

Ali Benbella "Monolithic column" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2019. http://islamicart.museumwnf.org/database_item.php?id=object;ISL;dz;Mus01;23;en

Prepared by: Ali BenbellaAli Benbella

Maître-assistant à l'Institut d'archéologie de l'université d'Alger, titulaire d'un magister en archéologie islamique, conservateur du patrimoine archéologique et historique, ancien chef du service Conservation et Valorisation (section islamique) au Musée national des antiquités, Ali Benbella a participé à plusieurs fouilles sur les sites médiévaux algériens de Mansourah (Tlemcen) et Achir (Médéa). Il a contribué à la réalisation de plusieurs expositions et catalogues établis par le Musée national des antiquités, entre autres Arts Céramiques et L'art islamique d'après une collection privée, et participé à la deuxième conférence sur les “Musées de la Méditerranée, nouveaux concepts et nouvelles perspectives” (Stockholm, 09-12 mai 2003).
Parmi ses publications, il faut citer sa contribution aux Cahiers d'Achir (rapport de fouilles, 1994), ainsi que plusieurs articles en arabe dans la revue Annales du Musée national des antiquités, le dernier sous le titre : “Pavillon des arts islamiques du Musée national des antiquités”. Il est l'auteur, dans le Medelhavsmuseet Bulletin (Stockholm, 2004), d'un article en anglais intitulé : “The National Museum of Antiquities in Algiers”.

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

MWNF Working Number: AL 34

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