London, England, United Kingdom
The British Museum
Hegira 6th century / AD 12th century
Height 32 cm, width 40 cm
A limestone capital with boldly cut foliage and volutes resting on twin columns. Pine cones, resembling bunches of grapes, are dispersed amongst symmetrically arranged stylised acanthus leaves. The leaves are punctuated with drilled holes. This design recalls some of the Abbasid capitals which were in turn inspired by Late Antique styles. However, instead of one pine cone and naturalistic leaf forms this capital has a proliferation of pine cones with more abstract leaves. Therefore it is probably later in date, perhaps made during Saladin's renovations of Jerusalem following his victory over the Crusaders, in the late 12th century.View Short Description
High-relief carvings of leaves alternating with pinecones decorate this limestone capital. The design dates to the Abbasid period but ultimately derives from Late Antique models. This capital was found in the Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem.
Saladin, the greatest Islamic hero of the Crusades, led the battle against the Crusaders and won back Jerusalem from them in 1187; this capital may have been made during Saladin's renovations of the city following his victory.
Donated to the British Museum by the Palestine Exploration Fund in 1903.
The capital was found in the Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem.
Wilkinson, J., Column Capitals in al-Haram al-Sharif, Jerusalem, 1987.
Emily Shovelton "Column capital" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2019. http://islamicart.museumwnf.org/database_item.php?id=object;ISL;uk;Mus01;10;en
Prepared by: Emily ShoveltonEmily Shovelton
Emily Shovelton is a historian of Islamic art. She studied history of art at Edinburgh University before completing an MA in Islamic and Indian art at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London. Since graduating she has worked on a number of projects at the British Museum. Other recent work includes editing and writing for a digital database of architectural photographs at the British Library. She is currently working on a Ph.D. on “Sultanate Painting in 15th-century India and its relationship to Persian, Mamluk and Indian Painting”, to be completed at SOAS in 2006. A paper on Sultanate painting given at the Conference of European Association of South Asian Archaeologists, held in the British Museum in July 2005, is due to be published next year.
Copyedited by: Mandi Gomez
MWNF Working Number: UK1 13
Islamic Dynasties / Period
On display in
Discover Islamic Art Exhibition(s)Al-Franj: the Crusaders in the Levant | Culture in the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem
MWNF GalleriesArchitectural Elements
Virtual Visit Exhibition Trail
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