Name of Object:

Ten-dinar coin

Location:

Rabat, Morocco

Holding Museum:

Numismatic Museum of the al-Maghreb Bank

About Numismatic Museum of the al-Maghreb Bank, Rabat

Date of Object:

Hegira 646–65 / AD 1248–66 (reign of Abu Hafs ‘Umar al-Murtada)

Museum Inventory Number:

1467

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Cast struck gold.

Dimensions:

Diameter 65 mm, thickness 1.5 mm, weight 49.9 g

Period / Dynasty:

Almohad

Workshop / Movement:

Marrakesh mint.

Provenance:

Marrakesh.

Description:

While being a rarity in Almohad coinage, this ten-dinar gold medal features the characteristics of the coins from that period. Immediately after the capture of Marrakesh in AH 540 / AD 1146, 'Abd al-Mu'min minted a new coin distinct from that of his predecessors. He introduced the square shape, codified the text and its location on the coin, and modified the written style. Thus on the obverse square of the coin we can read the profession of faith of the unity of God and Mohamed's prophetic mission after the basmala and the salutation to the prophet and his companions. The name of the reigning prince who issued the coin, followed by his father's name, appear on the segments. Inside the reverse square, the imamat of the mahdi (the messenger) is announced, followed by the name of 'Abd al-Mu'min ibn 'Ali, Caliph commander of the faithful, first Almohad monarch. The segments contain the name of the ancestors of the king who commissioned this coin along with their titles: the Caliph, commander of the faithful, Abu Hafs al-Murtada, son of Ibn Ibrahim, grandson of Abu Ya'qub, great-grandson of 'Abd al-Mu'min. As was common in this type of minting, there is no mention of the date. In accordance with the new code, the texts are written in cursive script with a linear clarity and sobriety typical in Almohad art.
In the squares, the letters are embellished with annulets whereas the segments display fleurons, tendrils and smooth palmettes. All these features make this coin a beautiful, elegant object. It is not surprising that it has been mounted for use as jewellery. These gold coins, called masmudia, were much sought-after throughout the Spanish Catholic states for their weight and the purity of the gold. They continued to be used in exchanges even after the fall of the Almohads.

View Short Description

This ten-dinar gold coin medallion bears the hallmarks of the coins minted by the dynasty that introduced square coins, codified the content and placement of the text and changed the writing style. It was converted into jewellery because of its rarity and elegance.

Original Owner:

J.D. Brèthes

How date and origin were established:

The inscription giving the name of the reigning monarch, al-Murtada (r. 646–65 / 1248–69).

How Object was obtained:

Purchase, Brèthes collection. An enlightened numismatist, Brèthes lived in Morocco in the first half of the 20th century, and built up an important collection of coins found in Morocco from periods throughout its history, from Antiquity to 1940.

How provenance was established:

Inscription on the coin.

Selected bibliography:

Brèthes,J. D., Contribution à l'histoire du Maroc par les recherches numismatiques, Casablanca, 1936.
Terrasse, H. Histoire du Maroc, Vol. I., Casablanca, 1950.

Citation of this web page:

Naima El Khatib-Boujibar "Ten-dinar coin" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2019. http://islamicart.museumwnf.org/database_item.php?id=object;ISL;ma;Mus01_F;8;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 10

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