Name of Object:
Section of a marble frieze
Islamic Museum, al-Aqsa Mosque / al-Haram al-Sharif
Date of Object:
About hegira 72 / AD 691
Museum Inventory Number:
Material(s) / Technique(s):
Marble (Carrara) carved in high relief.
Length 98 cm, width: 61 cm, depth 3 cm
Period / Dynasty:
A section of a marble frieze that was once located along the interior octagonal of the Dome of the Rock. Part of the frieze is still in situ, while sections of it are in the Islamic Museum. In its entirety, the frieze consisted of marble panels, each about 98 cm long and 61 cm wide. The frieze included two decorative themes of tiny swirling palm trees and intertwining grapevines.
View Short Description
This decorated and gilded marble frieze once wrapped round the octagonal interior of the Dome of the Rock. A section is still in situ. During the restoration of the Dome of the Rock, some 50 years ago, some of the pieces were transferred to the Islamic Museum. The pieces are rare and represent different artistic sources of Umayyad art.
Caliph 'Abd al-Malik bin Marwan (r. AH 65–86 / AD 685–705)
How date and origin were established:
The date for the panel was established by comparison with similar decorative motifs in the Umayyad palaces of al-Minya and Khirbat al-Mafjar, and with some other Umayyad wooden decorative pieces in the collection at the Islamic Museum in Jerusalem.
How Object was obtained:
The panel was transferred from the Dome of the Rock to the Islamic Museum in around 1960.
How provenance was established:
Whether this panel was carved in Jerusalem, or imported from Greece or some other locality where finished marble was available, is not known. It is also possible that it was carved in Jerusalem, and that repairs and consolidation of the entire frieze were done in a workshop on site at the Dome of the Rock.
Abu Khalaf, M., “The Carved and Gilded Marble Friezes of the Umayyad Period in the Dome of the Rock”, in A, Bakhit (ed), Fourth International Conference on History of Bilad al-Sahm During the Umayyad Period, Amman, 1989.
Citation of this web page:
Nazmi Al-Ju'beh "Section of a marble frieze" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2019. http://islamicart.museumwnf.org/database_item.php?id=object;ISL;pa;Mus01;3;en
Prepared by: Nazmi Al-Ju'beh