Name of Object:
Stalactite element (muqarbas)
National Museum of Setif
Date of Object:
Hegira 5th–6th centuries / AD 11th–12th centuries
Museum Inventory Number:
Material(s) / Technique(s):
Enamelled moulded ceramic.
Total height 41 cm, total length 21 cm, height of each piece 16 cm, dimension of each side of the pieces 5 cm
Period / Dynasty:
Qal’at Bani Hammad, Algeria.
Muqarbas are ornaments with an alveolate structure in the form of stalactites that are used to decorate domes or corbels, notably within Arab–Maghrebi architecture. The ceramic pieces in the shape of parallelepipeds that compose the whole consist of two parts: one plain, and the other formed by four vertical flutes. The cruciform base of each piece and the fluted part are covered by very light-coloured green enamel; traces of yellow appear on some of the sides. The pieces are assembled together as a pyramid, with cement on the plain parts whilst leaving the fluted parts visible.
View Short Description
This muqarbas is an ornamental wall-covering in the form of a four-level parallelepiped made up of a number of ceramic pieces and divided into two parts: one full and the other fluted, with traces of green enamel. The pieces are bound to one another using cement.
How date and origin were established:
Stalactite found in the Dar al-Bahr of the Qal'at Bani Hammad (5th–6th / 11th–12th centuries), according to Kitab al-Istibsar: 'The Banu Hammad built some important constructions in the qal'a…including [the palace] known as Dar al-Bahr, at the centre of which was a vast basin'.
How Object was obtained:
Archaeological repository (De Beylié excavations, 1908).
How provenance was established:
From de Beylié documents, which indicate that these stalactites were recovered from the foot of the wall looking over the southern side of the Dar al-Bahr courtyard.
Beylié, général de, La Kalaa des Beni Hammad, une capitale berbère de l'Afrique du Nord au XIe siècle, Paris, 1909.
Citation of this web page:
Houria Cherid "Stalactite element (muqarbas)" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2020. http://islamicart.museumwnf.org/database_item.php?id=object;ISL;dz;Mus01;16;en
Prepared by: Houria Cherid