Monastir Museum of Islamic Art

Monastir, Tunisia

Housed in the 2nd century AH / 8th century CE Rabat of Monastir, the museum consists of an open-air gallery which houses funerary steles and an exhibition space converted from the original prayer room of the fortified monument. This space houses a range of decorative objects grouped by their subject and type, constituting a collection that showcases the different eras of Islamic Tunisia.

The ceramic objects, of which there is a great decorative and chronological variety, are dated to the Aghlabid, Fatimid, Hafsid and Ottoman epochs. Stucco elements decorated with floral, geometric and epigraphic motifs are those found from the 3rd-4th / 9th-10th centuries from the sites of Raqqada and Sabra-al-Mansuriya. Much of the marble funerary steles come from the cemetery at Monastir dating between the 3rd-5th / 9th-11th centuries and are in the form of tablets, columns and swords. From the Great Mosque of Kairouan are exposed wooden elements in the form of friezes decorated with floral and epigraphic motifs, with particular depictions of crows, and are dated to the 4th-5th / 10th-11th centuries.

Glass objects, dating from the Fatimid and Mamluk eras are also present with some coming from the site of Sabra al-Mansouriya. The room also contains a showcase displaying gold and silver coinage dating back to the various periods mentioned above and glass standards from the ninth century. The collection of metal objects includes a remarkable astrolabe dating from the 12th/18th century. The art of calligraphy and binding is also represented by a set of parchment Qur’an sheets belonging to the library of the Great Mosque of Kairouan and dating to a period between the 3rd / 9th to 6th / 12th centuries. Among these parchments, is a Qur’an belonging to al-Hadinah, the nursemaid of the Zirid ruler Badis (410 AH / 1020 CE). The Qur’anic bindings consist of leather and are decorated with floral and geometric motifs, allowing us to trace the evolution of this art over five centuries (from the 3rd / 9th to the 7th / 13th centuries). The Museum’s Coptic and Fatimid textiles, with their epigraphic decorations and workshop signatures, bear witness to a state led production of such objects that enrich the museum’s collection.

Monastir, Tunisie
T +216 73 461272
F +216 73 461272

Conservateur et responsable de la collection
Amor Bouzganda

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