Jordan Archaeological Museum
Hegira 2nd century / AD 8th century
Height 17 cm, width: 16.5 cm, depth 6 cm
Hallado en al-Fudayn.
A ram-shaped mould made from two equal parts to form the body, and another small piece that forms the head. There are four hinged joints: one on its back, one on the top of its head and two at its feet. The horns of the ram are clearly visible behind the ears.
The object seems to have functioned as a special kind of mould used for shaping bread or cake for children. Another mould in the shape of an elephant was found along with this one.
The ram has particular significance for Muslims. It is mentioned several times in the Qur'an in for instance, sura 'Al Saffat' (chapter 37, verses 102–7), where the story of Abraham's sacrifice of his son Isaac is related and how ultimately Abraham sacrificed a ram in place of his son. Within the Muslim festival calendar is that of Eid Al-Adh'ha (Greater Bairam) when a ram is sacrificed, along with other animals such as a camel, a cow or a lamb.
Rams are also a feature of the mosaic floors found in Jordanian Byzantine-period churches. The ram is also evident on the mosaic floor of the Umayyad palace, Qasr Hallabat. A number of Islamic-period metalwork pieces are made in the form of animals.
A cast iron mould shaped in the form of a ram from the Umayyad palace of al-Fudayn. It was found along with another mould in the shape of an elephant and they were probably meant to produce bread or cakes for children. Metalwork representing animals is common in early Islamic art.
The object was dated by its location in the archaeological strata and also in association with pottery located close to it which was characteristically Umayyad.
The mould was obtained as a result of an excavation which was carried out in al-Fudayn, a site located 70 km northeast of Amman, where an Umayyad palace and a mosque were discovered.
The provenance is unknown, but the mould was probably produced in Syria.
Humbert, J. B., "El-Fedei-Mafraq”, in Contribution française à l'archéologie française jordanienne, Amman, 1989, pp.125–31.
Aida Naghawy "Ram mould" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2020. http://islamicart.museumwnf.org/database_item.php?id=object;ISL;jo;Mus01;43;en
Prepared by: Aida NaghawyAida Naghawy
Aida Naghawy is an archaeologist and the Director of Jordan Archaeological Museum. She studied archaeology at the University of Jordan where she gained her MA. She was affiliated to the Jordanian Department of Antiquities from 1974 as a curator of Jordan Archaeological Museum. In 1981 she became inspector of Jerash antiquities and co-ordinator of the Jerash International Rehabilitation project. She was also head of the archaeological awareness section at the Department of Antiquities. Aida is the author of numerous publications on Islamic coins. She has carried out excavation work in Jerash and is the founder of Jerash Archaeological Museum and the Islamic Museum of the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs.
Copyedited by: Mandi GomezMandi Gomez
Amanda Gomez is a freelance copy-editor and proofreader working in London. She studied Art History and Literature at Essex University (1986–89) and received her MA (Area Studies Africa: Art, Literature, African Thought) from SOAS in 1990. She worked as an editorial assistant for the independent publisher Bellew Publishing (1991–94) and studied at Bookhouse and the London College of Printing on day release. She was publications officer at the Museum of London until 2000 and then took a role at Art Books International, where she worked on projects for independent publishers and arts institutions that included MWNF’s English-language editions of the books series Islamic Art in the Mediterranean. She was part of the editorial team for further MWNF iterations: Discover Islamic Art in the Mediterranean Virtual Museum and the illustrated volume Discover Islamic Art in the Mediterranean.
True to its ethos of connecting people through the arts, MWNF has provided Amanda with valuable opportunities for discovery and learning, increased her editorial experience, and connected her with publishers and institutions all over the world. More recently, the projects she has worked on include MWNF’s Sharing History Virtual Museum and Exhibition series, Vitra Design Museum’s Victor Papanek and Objects of Desire, and Haus der Kulturen der Welt’s online publication 2 or 3 Tigers and its volume Race, Nation, Class.
MWNF Working Number: JO 08
Islamic Dynasties / Period
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