Name of Object:



Setif, Algeria

Holding Museum:

National Museum of Setif

 About National Museum of Setif, Setif

Date of Object:

Hegira 406–547 / AD 1015–1152

Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Enamelled ceramic.


Height 64 cm, width 24 cm, depth 7.5 cm

Period / Dynasty:



Qasr al-Manar, Qal’at Bani Hammad, Algeria.


This merlon, with its rectangular base prolonged on both sides by two projecting notches, is crowned by an element in the shape of a leaf whose concave surface has two perforations at its centre. The green-coloured enamel that covers the surface runs over the edge onto the lateral sides. Fragmented into two parts, the piece was restored with plaster on its posterior side.
This merlon, along with other similar elements, constitutes one of the friezes that crowned the summit of the façades of Hammadid palaces.
The holes that can be seen on the surface of the leaf might have been used to accommodate the fixing of bolts.

View Short Description

Rectangular-base merlon topped with a leaf-shaped object, the concave surface of which has two holes for attaching it. It is coloured with a blue-green glaze that has disappeared in places. This merlon was part of a frieze used to adorn Hammadid palaces.

How date and origin were established:

Merlon was found in the Qal'at Bani Hammad (5th–6th / AD 11th–12th centuries).

How provenance was established:

The merlon was found by Golvin in the palace of Manar. Furthermore, these merlons have appeared in abundance in the palace of Manar, but have not appeared elsewhere.

Selected bibliography:

Bourouiba, R, Les H'ammadites, Algiers, 1984.
Golvin, L., Recherches archéologiques à la Qal'a des Banû Hammâd (Algérie), Paris, 1965, pl. LXV.
Institut du Monde Arabe, L'Algérie en héritage, art et histoire, catalogue, Paris, 2003.

Citation of this web page:

Leila Merabet "Merlon" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2020.;ISL;dz;Mus01;17;en

Prepared by: Leila Merabet
Copyedited by: Margot Cortez
Translation by: Maria Vlotides
Translation copyedited by: Monica Allen

MWNF Working Number: AL 24