Name of Object:

Funerary stele (gravestone)


Tunis, Tunisia

Holding Museum:

Sidi Qasim al-Zelliji Museum

Date of Object:

Hegira 495 / AD 1101

Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Carved marble.


Length 72 cm, thickness 13 cm

Period / Dynasty:





A square marble plaque with moulded borders framing and separating twin epitaphs, each composed of nine lines of kufic script carved in relief. The characters are carefully and elegantly carved and the groove etched on each one underlines its graceful contours. The alphabet is chosen from a classical type which uses chamfered uprights and furls containing stylised fleurons.
Left epitaph:
'Basmala, tasliyah. Muhammad died on the Thursday of the last decade of Rabi al-awwal [first month], in the year 480 [1087], bearing witness to the oneness of God'.
Right epitaph:
'Basmala, tasliyah. Abd al-Azim son of Abd Allah al-Tanuhi al-Zayyat died on the Friday of the last decade of the last rabi month, in the year 495 [1101], bearing witness to the oneness of God'.
The latter man is probably the son, brother or father of Muhammad. Only the forenames are mentioned since he would be identified by the main epitaph.

View Short Description

Piece in the form of a square marble plaque with moulded edges framing and separating twin nine-line epitaphs in kufic script in relief. The inscription is neat and refers to two people.

How date and origin were established:

The epitaph has two dates. It was clearly carved after the death of the second man in 495 (1101).

How Object was obtained:

After the demolition of the Zawiya Sidi ‘Abd al-Azim in the 1950s, the stele went to the Sidi Bu Khrissan Mausoleum in Tunis. It has been on display at the Sidi Qasim al-Jallizi Museum since 1978.

How provenance was established:

The stele, which was found in the Zawiya of Sidi ‘Abd al-Azim, was carved in memory of the man described in the right-hand epitaph that has the same name and seems to have been venerated by the Tunisians.

Selected bibliography:

Zbiss, S. M., Corpus des inscriptions arabes de Tunisie, vol XIII, t. I, Tunis, 1955, pp.52, 57.

Citation of this web page:

Mourad Rammah "Funerary stele (gravestone)" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2018.;ISL;tn;Mus01_C;30;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.

Translation by: David Ash
Translation copyedited by: Mandi Gomez

MWNF Working Number: TN 53


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On display in

Discover Islamic Art Exhibition(s)

The Muslim West | Funerary Steles: Memorials in Stone

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Calligraphy Funerary objects


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