Name of Object:

Cup with inscription


Mértola, Beja, Portugal

Holding Museum:

Mértola Museum

About Mértola Museum, Mértola.

Date of Object:

Hegira second half of 5th or beginning of 6th century / AD second half 11th or beginning 12th century

Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Ceramic made with coarse-grained straw and paste mix, modelled on a wheel, fired in an oxidising atmosphere and decorated with the partial cuerda seca technique.


Height 10.2 cm, width 10.2 cm, diameter (of mouth) 9.1 cm, diameter (of base) 5.3 cm

Period / Dynasty:

Taifa or Almoravid




Cup with inverted bevelled rim, circular mouth, body in the shape of a bi-truncated cone with low carination, a vertical handle oval in cross-section which joins the carination to the rim, and a flat base with a diagonal foot-ring. The decoration was made using the partial cuerda seca technique, with the calligraphic motif drawn with a line of manganese and filled in with green glaze. The text is incomplete although we can read in kufic characters baraka kamila [wani]ma ^sa[mila] – 'full blessing and total happiness'. The sentence is not accompanied by any secondary motifs. This is one of the oldest objects with partial cuerda seca decoration conserved at Mértola and its ornamental and calligraphic style are somewhat different from the other objects which we can date to the AH 6th / AD 12th century. The object has been restored.

View Short Description

Cup decorated in part using cuerda seca with a kufic inscription reading ‘baraka kamila [wani]ma sa[mila]’ (‘full blessing and total happiness’). It suggests the need to protect the content of this piece of tableware from Mértola Castle.

How date and origin were established:

It was dated to either the end of the Taifa period or the Almoravid era through stratigraphy.

How Object was obtained:

This is a type of ceramic made in various regions of al-Andalus, but whose production has not yet been recorded in the west of the Iberian Peninsula.

How provenance was established:

Found in the archaeological excavations carried out by the Campo Arqueológico de Mértola in the Castle of Mértola.

Selected bibliography:

Gómez Martínez, S., A Cerâmica em Corda Seca de Mértola, Mértola, 2002.
Torres, C. and Macias, S. (eds.), O Portugal Islâmico, Lisbon, 1998, p.100.

Citation of this web page:

Susana Gómez Martínez "Cup with inscription" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2018.;ISL;pt;Mus01;46;en

Prepared by: Susana Gómez MartínezSusana Gómez Martínez

Susana Gómez Martínez é historiadora e arqueóloga especializada no período medieval. Estudou Geografia e História na Universidade Complutense de Madrid onde se doutorou em Historia com uma tese intitulada “Cerámica islámica de Mértola. Producción y comercio” (no prelo). É investigadora do Campo Arqueológico de Mértola desde 1993. Autora de várias publicações, de entre as quais se destacam “Cerâmica em Corda Seca de Mértola” (Mértola, Campo Arqueológico de Mértola, 2002); Cerámica Islámica de Medinaceli, in "Boletín de Arqueología Medieval", n.º 9, pp. 123-182, Madrid, Asociación Española de Arqueología Medieval, 1996). É membro do comité científico do Itinerário/exposição “Terras da Moura Encantada” (Lisboa, PICT e Museu sem Fronteiras, 1999) e do Comité Científico da Association International pour l'étude de la Céramique Médiévale en Méditerranée (AIECM2).

Translation by: Gilla Evans
Translation copyedited by: Monica Allen

MWNF Working Number: PT 63


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