Name of Object:
Pieces from the Nur al-Din Zangi minbar
Islamic Museum, al-Aqsa Mosque / al-Haram al-Sharif
Date of Object:
Construction of the minbar began in hegira 564 / AD 1169, and was completed in AH 570 / AD 1174
Artist(s) / Craftsperson(s):
Salman bin Ma’ali; Hamid Zafir; Abu al-Hasan bin Yahya; Fada’il and Abu al-Hasan Walidi Waladay Yahya al-Halabi.
Museum Inventory Number:
Material(s) / Technique(s):
Interlocked pine, inlaid with mother-of-pearl, pearls, and ivory.
Length 245 cm, width 112 cm
Period / Dynasty:
Custom-made in Aleppo, Syria for al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
A collection of panels formed from small and medium-sized pieces of interlocking pinewood representing all that remains of the Minbar of Nur al-Din Zangi, which was crafted in Aleppo as a good omen for the conquest of Jerusalem. The minbar was destroyed in a fire of 1969 which damaged some of the sections of al-Aqsa Mosque, especially the southern, qibla, wall. Nur al-Din Zangi ordered the production of the minbar while preparing for the conquest of Jerusalem but he died before he could retake the city, and Salah al-Din (Saladin) undertook the transportation of the minbar from Aleppo to Jerusalem in AH 583 / AD 1187.
View Short Description
The remains of a minbar destroyed in 1969 in a fire that damaged al-Aqsa Mosque. The minbar was commissioned by Nur al-Din Zangi in Aleppo as a good omen for the conquest of Jerusalem. Salah al-Din (Saladin) undertook its transportation to Jerusalem. The pieces have rich vegetal and geometric decoration, interlocking and star-shaped panels and names of the craftsmen.
Nur al-Din Zangi (ruled in Syria AH 541–69 / AD 1146–74) and Salih bin Nur al-Din Zangi, Salah al-Din Ayyubi (known as Saladin, r. AH 564–89 / AD 1169–93)
How date and origin were established:
The minbar is dated by the epigraphic inscriptions it bears, and a number of historical sources, some of the most important being those of Abu Shama (d. 665 / 1267) and Ibn al-Athir (d. 630 / 1223) and Mujir al-Din al-Hanbali (d. 927 / 1520).
How Object was obtained:
The minbar was transferred from al-Aqsa Mosque to the Islamic Museum after the fire of 1969.
How provenance was established:
Aleppo was narrowed down as the place of production for the minbar, supported by both the epigraphic inscriptions on it and by historical sources.
Abu Shama, al-Maqdisi, Dhail or Tarajim Rijal al-Qarnain al-Sadis wal-Sabi' [The Biographies of Famous People in the 6th and 7th Century], Cairo, 1947.
Citation of this web page:
Nazmi Al-Ju'beh "Pieces from the Nur al-Din Zangi minbar" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2019. http://islamicart.museumwnf.org/database_item.php?id=object;ISL;pa;Mus01;16;en
Prepared by: Nazmi Al-Ju'beh