Name of Object:
Islamic Museum, al-Aqsa Mosque / al-Haram al-Sharif
Date of Object:
Hegira 6th century / AD 12th century
Museum Inventory Number:
Material(s) / Technique(s):
Height 32 cm, horizontal cross-section 20 cm x 20 cm
Period / Dynasty:
After Jerusalem was restored to the Muslims under the leadership of Salah al-Din Ayyubi (Saladin) in AH 583 / AD 1187, he quickly tried to restore the Islamic character of Jerusalem generally, and that of the Haram al-Sharif specifically. The Muslims undertook the destruction and removal of Crusader additions to buildings, icons and decorations within the holy areas, until what remained was likely to be found only in the secular buildings. This operation provided a large quantity of building materials, especially invaluable marble and decorative stone fragments, most of which were re-used in the Ayyubid architectural projects in Jerusalem and outside. Some of these edifices are still standing and may still be seen today.
View Short Description
With the fall of Jerusalem under Salah al-Din Ayyubi (Saladin), many Crusader additions were removed from al-Haram al-Sharif. This left behind many building materials including this carved marble capital. It was adorned with many vegetal, animal and human motifs and demonstrates the iconoclastic process in sacred Islamic sites.
How date and origin were established:
The capital was dated by comparison of its carving and decorative themes with other Crusader pieces in Palestine.
How Object was obtained:
This column capital was probably transferred from the Haram al-Sharif to the Islamic Museum during restorations, a process that is still underway. The Museum owns other Crusader column capitals that were exposed to iconoclastic acts.
How provenance was established:
Similar capitals remain in different areas of the Haram al-Sharif and Jerusalem. Some of these capitals remain in situ, while others were re-used in other buildings. Only some capitals were defaced, while others were largely untouched. It is probable that this capital was produced in Jerusalem.
Hunt, L. A., “Crusader Sculpture and the so-called Templar Workshop: A Reassessment of Two Carved Panels from the Dome of the Rock in al-Haram al-Sharif Museum in Jerusalem”, in Palestine Exploration Quarterly, No. 132, 2000.
Citation of this web page:
Nazmi Al-Ju'beh "Column capital" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2019. http://islamicart.museumwnf.org/database_item.php?id=object;ISL;pa;Mus01;15;en
Prepared by: Nazmi Al-Ju'beh