Name of Object:

Two carved limestone blocks


Irbid, Jordan

Holding Museum:

Museum of Jordanian Heritage, Yarmouk University

Original Owner:

Probably Al-Walid II (d. 126/ 744)

Current Owner:

Department of Antiquities, Jordan

Date of Object:

Hegira first quarter of the 2nd century / AD first half of the 8th century

Museum Inventory Number:

A 1937., A 1938

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Carved limestone.


a: Height 46.5 cm, length 57.5 cm, depth 40 cm; b: Height 51 cm, length 70.5 cm, depth 33.5 cm

Period / Dynasty:



Al-Qastal, Jordan.


During an archaeological excavation and restoration works at the palace at al-Qastal in 1983 eight carved limestone blocks with floral and geometric patterns were recovered. They had once decorated the palace at al-Qastal and some of them were re-used in the restoration work that took place in 1983. Carved stone reliefs were a favourite decorative feature of Umayyad palaces, using a decorative repertoire of geometric and vegetal motifs to the exclusion of almost anything else.

These two carved limestone blocks are fragments from a frieze and a lintel that formed part of the middle niche at the eastern side of the palace. One block is decorated with four carved rosettes that are divided into two panels by a decorative divider; the other has a simple carved rosette of six petals set in a circle surrounded by flowers.

View Short Description

Two carved limestone blocks from a frieze and a lintel that formed part of the middle niche at the eastern side of the Umayyad palace at al-Qastal. Carved stone reliefs were a favourite decorative feature of Umayyad palaces, mainly using a decorative repertoire of geometric and vegetal motifs.

How date and origin were established:

The Palace where these carved limestone blocks were found has been dated to the Umayyad period.

How Object was obtained:

The limestone blocks were removed in 1983 during archaeological excavations and restoration of the Umayyad palace at al-Qastal.

How provenance was established:

The limestone blocks were found in the Umayyad palace at al-Qastal.

Selected bibliography:

Carlier, P. F., 'Recherches archéologiques au château de Qastal (Jordanie)', ADAJ Vol. XXVIII, 1984, pp.343–83, figs. 27, 29.

Citation of this web page:

Aida Naghawy "Two carved limestone blocks" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2024.;ISL;jo;Mus01_C;19;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 37


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