Name of Object:



Tunis, Tunisia

Holding Museum:

Sidi Qasim al-Jalizi Museum

Date of Object:

Hegira 12th century / AD 18th century

Museum Inventory Number:

C 32

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Polychrome ceramic.


Height 18 cm, diameter 70 cm

Period / Dynasty:

Husaynid Beys (Ottoman)


The Qallaline workshop at Tunis.


A very large basin (ma'jna) with a flat base and curved, sloping sides. In the centre, on the disc-shaped base, is a stylised decoration based on flowers and spreading palm-leaves. On the sides the tawq (necklace) motif is the main decorative component. Four tawqs adorned with stylised vegetation are drawn within arcatures. These arcatures alternate with others, containing medallions of diamond-shaped leaves. Just beneath the rim is a circle of dots. The decoration appears to be a mixture of surviving local influences like the tawq, which is found in Hafsid ceramics, and Ottoman influences, such as the arrangement of flowers. The main colours are the traditional yellow, green and brown, but with the addition of purple. The ma'jna is used for kneading pastry or rolling semolina but can also be a serving bowl for certain cooked dishes.

View Short Description

This large basin, known as a ma'jna, was used to knead dough or roll semolina, as well as to serve particular dishes. Its decoration combines surviving local elements with Ottoman influences. The composition is dominated by traditional colours: yellow, green, brown and blue-violet.

How date and origin were established:

The decoration, colours and manufacturing technique of this basin are all typical of the Qallaline workshops at Tunis during the 12th / 18th century.

How Object was obtained:

This piece comes from the Bardo Museum and was acquired by the Sidi Qasim al-Jalizi Museum on its inauguration in 1978.

How provenance was established:

Stylistic analysis (see above).

Citation of this web page:

Mourad Rammah "Basin" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2018.;ISL;tn;Mus01_C;24;en

Prepared by: Mourad RammahMourad Rammah

Né en 1953 à Kairouan, docteur en archéologie islamique, Mourad Rammah est le conservateur de la médina de Kairouan. Lauréat du prix Agha Khan d'architecture, il publie divers articles sur l'histoire de l'archéologie médiévale islamique en Tunisie et participe à différentes expositions sur l'architecture islamique. De 1982 à 1994, il est en charge du département de muséographie du Centre des arts et des civilisations islamiques. Mourad Rammah est également directeur du Centre des manuscrits de Kairouan.

Copyedited by: Margot Cortez
Translation by: David Ash
Translation copyedited by: Mandi Gomez

MWNF Working Number: TN 38


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