Name of Object:



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:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Sculpted stone.


Height 43.5 cm, sides 35.5 cm, diameter of the base 24.5 cm

Period / Dynasty:



Qasr al-Manar, Qal’at Bani Hammad, Algeria.


An astragal, decorated with arcs adorned with flower-shaped ornaments, sits on top of a plinth with chevron mouldings. These two elements are surmounted by a double row of folded acanthus leaves; caulicole leaves that are superimposed over each other, whose surface is embellished with digitations and eyelets, grow out between the acanthus leaves of the second row. The whole is surmounted by a curved abacus ornamented with milled edges, at each corner centrally presenting a projecting decoration that consists of double palmettes.
This capital was discovered in the great hall of the palace of Manar, which Bourouiba affirms was divided into two levels that were separated by a step flanked on each side by a column. The author also indicates that it was the first time in the history of the Qal'at Bani Hammad excavations that columns were found both in their entirety and remaining in their original positions, along with all the pieces of which they consist.
The presence of traces of blue paint should also be noted.

View Short Description

Capital consisting of a plinth decorated at its base with juxtaposed broken lines beneath an astragal (semi-circular moulding) decorated with an arcature, two rows of acanthus leaves, and other floral motifs. The whole is crowned by an ornate curved abacus. It was discovered in the ceremonial hall of the Manar Palace.

How date and origin were established:

Through having been found on the site of the Qal'at Bani Hammad.

How Object was obtained:

Archaeological repository (Bourouiba excavations, 1971).

How provenance was established:

Found in the great hall of the palace of Manar in the Qal'at Bani Hammad.

Selected bibliography:

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

Citation of this web page:

Leila Merabet "Capital" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2020.;ISL;dz;Mus01;40;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 73


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