Name of Object:

Fountain basin


Algiers, Algeria

Holding Museum:

National Museum of Antiquities and Islamic Arts

 About National Museum of Antiquities and Islamic Arts, Algiers

Date of Object:

Hegira 405–547 / AD 1015–1152

Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Sculpted grey marble.


Height 26.5 cm, length 119 cm, width 52 cm, depth 17 cm

Period / Dynasty:



Dar al-Bahr, Qal’at Bani Hammad, Algeria.


Oblong basin in grey marble. A sculpted decorative element consisting of two poly-lobed arches that end in serpentine motifs can be found at both ends of the cavity. The four cornerstones of the basin's edge are adorned with four full medallions. The cavity of this fountain consists of a hollow with a bordering edge. One of the two sides features an orifice that was once connected to piping. The basin's exterior form becomes narrower towards its base.

View Short Description

This rectangular basin is decorated with sculptures consisting of two poly-lobed arches finished with snake motifs. There are four full medallions in the four spandrels around the basin. This basin was probably used to provide water to the Palace of the Sea (Dar al-Bahr).

How date and origin were established:

Found in the Dar al-Bahr of the Qal'at Bani Hammad (5th–6th / 11th–12th centuries).

How Object was obtained:

Archaeological repository (De Beylié excavations, 1908).

How provenance was established:

Discovered by De Beylié in the northwest corner of the great court of Dar al-Bahr.

Selected bibliography:

Beylié, général de, La Kalaa des Beni Hammad, une capitale berbère de l'Afrique du Nord au XIe siècle, Paris, 1909.
Bourouiba, R., Les H'ammadites, Algiers, 1984.
Golvin, L., Recherches archéologiques à la Qal'a des Banû Hammâd, Paris, 1965.
Marçais, G., Le musée Stéphane Gsell, musée des antiquités et d'art musulman d'Alger, Algiers, 1950.

Citation of this web page:

Leila Merabet "Fountain basin" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2020.;ISL;dz;Mus01;38;en

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

MWNF Working Number: AL 70