Name of Object:
Museum of Islamic Art at the Pergamon Museum
Date of Object:
Around hegira 719 / AD 1320
Museum Inventory Number:
Material(s) / Technique(s):
Cedar and poplar wood, carved and joined together from individual pieces. Certain sections are painted (red, blue and green).
Height 190 cm, width 355 cm, depth 355 cm
Period / Dynasty:
Part of the Torre de las Damas from the Palacio del Partal within the Alhambra palace complex in Granada, Spain.
The cupola in Berlin was once part of the Torre [tower] de las Damas in the Palacio del Partal, and was built above elaborate stuccowork. From the tower’s windows one could enjoy a view over the city of Granada as well as over the palace complex, including the parts of the Alhambra that no longer exist today, which were built by the Nasrid ruler Muhammad III (r. AH 701–708 / AD 1302–1308). The Nasrid rulers’ motto, ‘There is no victory other than from God’, which plays an important part in the cupola’s decoration, can be read as a proclamation of Islam, which was threatened by the approaching Reconquista.
View Short Description
This cupola is from a building in the Alhambra palace complex called the Palacio del Partal, which was once the private house of a German banker who was allowed to transfer the cupola to his Berlin villa. Wooden ceilings and cupolas of this kind are a feature of Islamic architecture in the Maghreb.
In 1885, Arthur von Gwinner bought a piece of land in the Alhambra area, which included a section with buildings, streets and gardens. In 1891 he donated the Palacio del Partal to the city of Granada. In return, he was allowed to dismantle the wooden cupola, removing it from the Torre de las Damas and transporting it to Berlin. In 1892 he reassembled the cupola, incorporating it in his Berlin home. In 1921 he donated his property to the Spanish government
How date and origin were established:
The cupola can be dated through its provenance from the Palacio del Partal, which formed part of the Alhambra Palace and which was built under Muhammad III (r. 701–708 / 1302–1308).
How Object was obtained:
Acquired in 1978 from Arthur von Gwinner’s descendants.
How provenance was established:
Documents show that the cupola came from the Palacio del Partal in the Alhambra Palace complex in Granada, Spain, from where it was removed in 1892. Its Spanish provenance is thus guaranteed.
Brisch, K., “Eine Kuppel aus der Alhambra in Granada”, Berichte aus den Berliner Museen Preußischer Kulturbesitz, 3rd series, 14, 1978, pp.6–7, 10–11.
Citation of this web page:
Jens Kröger "Alhambra cupola" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2019. http://islamicart.museumwnf.org/database_item.php?id=object;ISL;de;Mus01;17;en
Prepared by: Jens Kröger