Name of Object:

Parts of a minbar


Fez, Morocco

Holding Museum:

Batha Museum

Date of Object:

Sides: Hegira 369 / AD 979; back: Hegira 375 / AD 985

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Carved, turned, painted cedarwood.


Back: height 146 cm, width 75 cm, depth 3–4.5 cm; panels: height 56 cm, width 20.6 cm, depth 2.5–4.5 cm

Period / Dynasty:

Sides: Tunisian Fatimid; back: Umayyad Caliphate of Córdoba


Andalusian Mosque, Fez.


These elements of the facing of the minbar are formed by two distinctive parts. The first one consists of two longitudinal panels from the upper parts of the lateral faces of the minbar. Their surfaces, divided into sections and surmounted by an arch, are decorated with stacks of pinecones and acanthus rosettes borrowed from Abbasid flora. The panels are framed by a band bearing an inscription in angular kufic script also in an Eastern style. The inscription in the right panel, whose spandrels are adorned with half-sprays of acanthus, includes the date the Fatimids founded the minbar. The one in the left panel shows Qur'anic texts from verse 36 of Sura 24, 'The light'.
The second part includes the three elements from the back.
The top, arched panel is topped by an inscription in kufic script, which indicates the name of the Umayyad patron and the date the minbar was repaired. Its surface, framed by a border of small floral medallions, is decorated in two styles: the upper section is occupied in the centre by a rectangular panel with a poly-lobed arch with floral medallions and on the sides by festoon acanthus rosettes. The lower section is adorned with an acanthus rosette flanked by poly-lobed medallions containing polygonal knotwork based on an eight-pointed star.
The rectangular middle part, bordered with a votive inscription, is adorned with a central motif of tiered chevrons with palm foliage and serrated acanthus rosettes inscribed in squares.
The lower part is decorated with half-balusters in turned and painted wood, glued on a slab.
These facings, which illustrate a historic period of Morocco when two political and religious movements fought for the hegemony of the country, play an important role in the history of Moroccan art, which, from that time forward, would be influenced both from the East and from Andalusia.

View Short Description

These minbar parts illustrate a historical episode and the beginnings of Islamic art in Morocco, when Fatimids and Córdoban Umayyads were fighting for control of the country. The Fatimids incorporated Eastern decoration when making the minbar, and the Umayyads added Western elements when converting it.

Original Owner:

Habus (waqf)

How date and origin were established:

Two inscriptions mention the dates. The date of foundation is shown on the arcature in the right panel: 'This minbar was made in the month of Shawwal in the year 369 [April / May 979]' and the date it was repaired appears on the upper part of the back: '… this is what was commissioned by the mayor of the palace …, al-Mansur, sword of the empire of the imam and servant of God … Hisham … Abi Amir Muhammad … son of Abi Amir … in the month of Jumada II in the year 375 [October–November 985]'.

How Object was obtained:


How provenance was established:

These parts were removed from the minbar, which remained in use at the Andalusian Mosque from its creation in 369 / 979 until 1353 / 1934.

Selected bibliography:

Cambazard-Amahan, C., 6000 ans d'art au Maroc, catalogue, Paris, 1990.
Lévy-Provençal, É., Histoire de l'Espagne musulmane, Vol. III, Paris, 1953.
Terrasse, H., La Mosquée des Andalous à Fès, Paris, 1934.

Citation of this web page:

Naima El Khatib-Boujibar "Parts of a minbar" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2018.;ISL;ma;Mus01_C;4;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: Albertina Torres, Laurence Nunny
Translation copyedited by: Monica Allen

MWNF Working Number: MO 05


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 Artistic Introduction

 Timeline for this item

Islamic Dynasties / Period


Umayyads of al-Andalus

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