Name of Object:
Bas-relief in carved marble
Date of Object:
Hegira 4th–5th centuries / AD 10th–11th centuries
Museum Inventory Number:
Material(s) / Technique(s):
Length 53 cm, width 35 cm
Period / Dynasty:
In the right-hand section of the bas-relief is a seated figure wearing a richly embroidered tunic. The heavy crown on his head defines him as a sovereign or military leader. With his right hand he lifts a cup to his lips. To his right a musician plays the flute. The man's head is covered with a veil and the sleeves of his tunic are decorated with bands containing geometric motifs. His eyes are almond-shaped and very prominent.
View Short Description
This bas-relief is one of the few Ifriqiyan pieces depicting an animal scene. A person dressed in a rich, embroidered tunic is sat on the right side of the bas-relief. He is wearing a crown on his head, suggesting that he is a king or military leader. To his right, a musician is playing the flute.
How date and origin were established:
The bas-relief was discovered at Mahdiyya, capital of the Fatimids and then of the Zirids during the 4th–5th / 10th–11th centuries, which tends to establish its dating in that era. This is corroborated by the large number of human figures and scenes from daily life produced in Ifriqiya at the same time.
How Object was obtained:
Following its chance discovery at Mahdiyya, the piece was acquired and shown at the Bardo Museum.
How provenance was established:
The Ifriqiyan origin of the decoration suggests the object was carved in situ re-using an old piece of Italian marble.
Tunisie, terre de rencontres et de civilisation (catalogue de l'exposition de Séville), Tunis, 1992, p.265.
Citation of this web page:
Mourad Rammah "Bas-relief in carved marble" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2019. http://islamicart.museumwnf.org/database_item.php?id=object;ISL;tn;Mus01_A;35;en
Prepared by: Mourad Rammah