Name of Object:

Inscription panel


London, England, United Kingdom

Holding Museum:

The British Museum

About The British Museum, London

Date of Object:

Hegira 477 / AD 1084–5

Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):



Height 41.30 cm, width 103.50 cm

Period / Dynasty:





A rectangular marble panel with a foundation inscription incised on the surface. Laid when a building was constructed, foundation inscriptions usually provide the name of the patron and the date of construction. This panel bears the names and titles of the Fatimid Caliph al-Mustansir and the date AH 477 (AD 1084–5). The angular kufic script used on this panel was particularly popular for epigraphy on Fatimid buildings. It is not known which building this stone came from but the building must have been commissioned by the caliph himself or his Commander-in-Chief Badr al-Jamali (d. AH 483 / AD 1091). The Fatimids were renowned for their prolific architectural patronage made possible by a period of economic prosperity. Among the most spectacular Fatimid constructions were the robust city walls and fortified gates ordered by Badr al-Jamali.

View Short Description

This marble panel bears the names and titles of the Fatimid Caliph al-Mustansir and the date AH 477 (AD 1084–5). The inscription has been carved in the angular kufic script often used for epigraphy on buildings in the Fatimid period. It is not known which building the stone originated from.

How date and origin were established:

The panel is inscribed with the date 477 (1084–5).

How Object was obtained:

Acquired by the British Museum in 1972.

How provenance was established:

This panel was clearly made in Cairo as the inscription bears the name and titles of the Fatimid Caliph al-Mustansir.

Citation of this web page:

Emily Shovelton "Inscription panel" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2024.;ISL;uk;Mus01;6;en

Prepared by: Emily ShoveltonEmily Shovelton

Emily Shovelton is a historian of Islamic art. She studied history of art at Edinburgh University before completing an MA in Islamic and Indian art at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London. Since graduating she has worked on a number of projects at the British Museum. Other recent work includes editing and writing for a digital database of architectural photographs at the British Library. She is currently working on a Ph.D. on “Sultanate Painting in 15th-century India and its relationship to Persian, Mamluk and Indian Painting”, to be completed at SOAS in 2006. A paper on Sultanate painting given at the Conference of European Association of South Asian Archaeologists, held in the British Museum in July 2005, is due to be published next year.

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: UK1 09


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 Artistic Introduction

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Islamic Dynasties / Period


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