Name of Object:

Small gazelle in bronze


Rabat, Morocco

Holding Museum:

Archeological Museum

About Archeological Museum, Rabat.

Date of Object:

Hegira late 4th and 8th centuries / AD late 10th and 14th centuries

Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Solid cast bronze.


Total height 13 cm, diameter 5 cm

Period / Dynasty:

Umayyad; Marinid


Dual provenance: the upper part was from Córdoba and the lower part was made in Morocco.


This bronze object is composed of three superimposed elements: a small gazelle joined to a rectangular pedestal on top of a ball with a shaft, above a small sphere surrounded by a four-petal corolla. Rivets fix all these elements to the shaft, which holds the different components and serves as an axis. The gazelle, the support, the ball and the shaft are solid cast. The animal has an arched neck and a thin layer of gold covers its body. The tops of its legs are decorated with geometrical knotwork and a woven design on their inner side whereas the inside of the neck is decorated with dots. The small rounded tail is stamped with a cruciform pattern. The gazelle's elegance and its decoration are reminiscent of Umayyad bronzes from Córdoba.
The hollow sphere is not decorated and it is formed by two welded elements. The corolla is made out of flat strips cut into four wide lanceolate petals, gilded with serrated edges. The outside of the strips are decorated with a floral pattern with smooth palms and Marinid-style foliage.
The two parts of this small bronze do not appear to belong to the same period. In all probability the upper part, gazelle and shaft, was made in Córdoba during the Caliphate period. The sphere and the four-petalled corolla would have been added in the Marinid period, possibly to use it at the top of an aquamanile.

View Short Description

This elegant object, representing a small gazelle on top of a sphere surrounded by a corolla of petals, would have been placed on top of an aquamanile. Its two halves come from difference periods: the Caliphate of Córdoba and the Marinid era.

How date and origin were established:

Through stylistic analysis and comparison with Umayyad and Marinid pieces.

How Object was obtained:


How provenance was established:

Excavation report (Boube 1972).

Selected bibliography:

Hassar-Benslimane, J., 'Note à propos d'un bronze arabe trouvé au Chellah (Rabat)', Bulletin d'archéologie marocaine, Vol. X, 1976, pp.173–84.

Citation of this web page:

Naima El Khatib-Boujibar "Small gazelle in bronze" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2021.;ISL;ma;Mus01;19;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 23


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