Name of Object:



Ajlun, Jordan

Holding Museum:

Ajlun Archaeological Museum

Date of Object:

Hegira 6th century / post-AD 1184

Museum Inventory Number:

AJ. 1-8

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Wheel-thrown ceramic.


Height 12 cm, width 14.7 cm, circumference 29.5 cm

Period / Dynasty:



Unknown, probably Syria.


A cone shaped vessel with a pointed base and a small opening, 3 cm in diameter. Made of thick black or gray burnished pottery ware, the vessels are decorated with almond-shaped designs in relief which are arranged into nine segments and divided by straight lines, starting at the neck and ending at the pointed base.

Scholars differ in opinion as to the function and use of these vessels. Some think they were used as containers for perfume or other precious liquids, while others believe they were filled with naphtha and used as grenades.

View Short Description

Cone-shaped vessels from Ajlun Castle made of thick grey or black pottery. Their function and use are not certain; some scholars think they were containers for perfume or precious liquids, while others believe they were filled with naphtha and used as grenades.

How Object was obtained:

The vessels were collected during an archaeological excavation carried out in the Castle of Ajlun.

How date and origin were established:

The vessels are dated by stylistic analysis and by the fact that they were found as part of the archaeology of a dated building.

How provenance was established:

The provenance is unknown but the grenades were probably produced in Syria.

Selected bibliography:

العش، محمد، "الفخار غير المطلي" الحوليات الأثرية السورية، المجلد العاشر، 1960، ص 135-189.

ساري.صالح، الفخار الأيوبي و المملوكي في بلاد الشام 567-923 ه/1171 – 1517م، رسالة ماجستير، الجامعة الأردنية، 1979، ص 131، شكل 47.

Pentz, P., 'Medieval Workshop for Producing Greek Fire Grenades', Antiquity Vol. 62, cat. no. 234, 1988, pp.89–93.

Seyrig, T., 'Flacons? Grenades? Colipiles?', Syria, tome XXXXI, 1959, pp.81–9.

Citation of this web page:

Aida Naghawy "Grenades" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2023.;ISL;jo;Mus01_B;29;en

Prepared by: Aida NaghawyAida Naghawy

Aida Naghawy is an archaeologist and the Director of Jordan Archaeological Museum. She studied archaeology at the University of Jordan where she gained her MA. She was affiliated to the Jordanian Department of Antiquities from 1974 as a curator of Jordan Archaeological Museum. In 1981 she became inspector of Jerash antiquities and co-ordinator of the Jerash International Rehabilitation project. She was also head of the archaeological awareness section at the Department of Antiquities. Aida is the author of numerous publications on Islamic coins. She has carried out excavation work in Jerash and is the founder of Jerash Archaeological Museum and the Islamic Museum of the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs.

Copyedited by: Mandi GomezMandi Gomez

Amanda Gomez is a freelance copy-editor and proofreader working in London. She studied Art History and Literature at Essex University (1986–89) and received her MA (Area Studies Africa: Art, Literature, African Thought) from SOAS in 1990. She worked as an editorial assistant for the independent publisher Bellew Publishing (1991–94) and studied at Bookhouse and the London College of Printing on day release. She was publications officer at the Museum of London until 2000 and then took a role at Art Books International, where she worked on projects for independent publishers and arts institutions that included MWNF’s English-language editions of the books series Islamic Art in the Mediterranean. She was part of the editorial team for further MWNF iterations: Discover Islamic Art in the Mediterranean Virtual Museum and the illustrated volume Discover Islamic Art in the Mediterranean.

True to its ethos of connecting people through the arts, MWNF has provided Amanda with valuable opportunities for discovery and learning, increased her editorial experience, and connected her with publishers and institutions all over the world. More recently, the projects she has worked on include MWNF’s Sharing History Virtual Museum and Exhibition series, Vitra Design Museum’s Victor Papanek and Objects of Desire, and Haus der Kulturen der Welt’s online publication 2 or 3 Tigers and its volume Race, Nation, Class.

MWNF Working Number: JO 58


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