Name of Object:

Funerary stele


Rabat, Morocco

Holding Museum:

Museum of Archaeology

About Museum of Archaeology, Rabat.

Date of Object:

Hegira 706 / AD 1307

Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Sculpted white marble.


Height 81 cm, length 51 cm, width 41 cm

Period / Dynasty:



Challa Necropolis, Rabat.


This re-used Roman stele, quadrangular in shape, is decorated like a monumental gateway in the Almohad style and is also reminiscent of a mihrab (symbolic of access to God). Its poly-lobed arcature supported by a snake-motif console and surrounded by a rectangular frame rests on engaged columns crowned with capitals with wreathed astragals and meander-shaped bells. This type of stele was also found in al-Andalus in Almerìa, Évora and Mértola, where they predated the Marinid era.
Inside the arcature, the epitaph of the deceased is sculpted in relief with cursive characters. This stele is for the Marinid Prince Abu Ya'qub Yusuf, who built the Mansura encampment and was assassinated at Tlemcen. His body was brought home for burial next to his father in the family necropolis. After the customary prayers for the deceased, the epitaph recalls, by means of epithets, the glorious deeds and actions of the monarch, who is called a pious man, a saint, a warrior for the faith and a martyr. It also mentions his beneficiaries and ancestry (son of Abu Yusuf and grandson of 'Abd al-Haqq) and the date of his death (7 Dhu'l Qa'dah 706).
On either side of the arcature there are spandrels decorated with palmettes or vertical cupolas surrounded by dense foliage and single and double smooth palms sculpted in low relief.
The rectangular edge of the stele is surrounded by an epigraphic band interrupted at each corner by a palmette inscribed in an eight-pointed star. Qur'anic verses 32, 33 and 34, taken from Sura 31 ('Luqman') are engraved in relief and in angular kufic characters with braided upstrokes and coiled bevels.
In addition to its historical interest, this stele includes all the characteristics of Marinid art, which borrowed its dense floral decoration from the Almoravids and its refined architectural forms from the Almohads.

View Short Description

This stele was made for the Marinid prince who built the Mansura encampment and was murdered at Tlemcen. His body was repatriated to be buried in the family necropolis. Its architectural-style decoration, reminiscent of monumental gateways and mihrabs, is also found in al-Andalus (Spain).

How date and origin were established:

The date is inscribed in the epitaph: 'He died on Wednesday 7 Dhul Qadah 706' (13 May 1307).

How Object was obtained:

Archaeological find.

How provenance was established:

This stele was recovered from its original location.

Selected bibliography:

Cambazard-Amahan, C. and Erbati, E., 6000 ans d'art au Maroc, catalogue, Paris, 1990.
Lévi-Provençal, É. and Basset, H., Chellah, une nécropole mérinide, Paris, 1923.
Marçais, G., L'architecture musulmane d'Occident, Paris, 1954.
Andalusian Morocco: A Discovery in Living Art, pp.229–31.

Citation of this web page:

Naima El Khatib-Boujibar "Funerary stele" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2018.;ISL;ma;Mus01;18;en

Prepared by: Naima El Khatib-BoujibarNaima El Khatib-Boujibar

Archéologue et historienne de l'art, titulaire d'une licence en lettres (française), N. Elkhatib-Boujibar a également étudié l'archéologie et l'histoire de l'art à l'Institut d'art et d'archéologie de Paris, l'art islamique et la muséologie à l'École du Louvre (Paris), et suivi des cours à l'Institut d'ethnographie de l'Université de Neuchâtel (Suisse). Elle a occupé plusieurs postes de responsabilité, parmi lesquels directrice des Musées et de l'Archéologie, inspectrice générale des Musées et de l'Archéologie, déléguée régionale du ministère de la Culture.
Elle a dirigé un chantier de fouille durant 20 ans et enseigné à l'Institut national marocain des sciences de l'archéologie et du patrimoine (INSAP). Elle a organisé différentes expositions sur le patrimoine marocain, au Maroc comme à l'étranger, et animé des cycles de conférence, dont celui sur l'art islamique à la “Villa des Arts” à Casablanca.
N. El Khatib-Boujibar a publié différents articles sur le patrimoine archéologique, artistique et architectural marocain, mais aussi sur d'autres sites islamiques et sur les arts mobiliers. Elle a également participé à la rédaction du catalogue Musée Sans Frontières Le Maroc andalou, à la rencontre d'un art de vivre.

Copyedited by: Margot Cortez
Translation by: Laurence Nunny
Translation copyedited by: Monica Allen

MWNF Working Number: MO 22


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