Funerary stele of Mukhlef ibn ‘Uthman
National Museum of Antiquities and Islamic Arts
Hegira 406–547 / AD 1015–1152
Sandstone sculpted in bas-relief.
Height 25.5 cm, width 37 cm
Qal’at Bani Hammad, Algeria.
Funerary stele composed of two parallelepipeds surmounted by a pyramid and separated by a row of beads. The horizontal surfaces of the pyramid and of the second parallelepiped are decorated with a kufic inscription that reads: 'In the name of God the Clement / the merciful whom God blesses / the prophet Muhammad and his / family. This is the tomb of Mukhlef ibn ‘Uthman.'
The gaps left by the downstrokes of the long letters in the upper part of the inscription are filled with floral decoration, whilst the lateral surfaces of the pyramid and the second parallelepiped are adorned with floral and geometric elements.
The person in question here is not mentioned by the chroniclers and his name is not accompanied by any title, which leaves the possibility that he is an ordinary man who once lived in Qal'at Bani Hammad.
Funerary stele with an original shape made up of two parallelepipeds crowned with a pyramid. There is a kufic inscription on the upper section, which is decorated with floral motifs, while the lower section boasts floral and geometric decoration.
The stele forms part of the ruins excavated at the Qal'at Bani Hammad, founded in 397 / 1007.
Archaeological repository (excavations of Qal'at Bani Hammad).
The stele was found in the cemetery of the Qal'at Bani Hammad (excavated by Blanchet, 1897).
Beylié, général de, La Kalaa des Beni Hammad, une capitale berbère de l'Afrique du Nord au XIe siècle, Paris, 1909.
Blanchet, P., “La Kalaa des Beni-Hammâd”, Recueil de la Société archéologique du departement de Constantine, 1898, pp.97–116.
Bourouiba, R., Les H'ammadites, Algiers, 1984.
Mazouz, A., El-kitabat el-koufia bildjazair ma beayn el-karnayn el-thani wa el-thamin el-higryene (8–14 el-miladiyene) (Kufic inscriptions of Algeria from the second to the eight century of the Hegira [8–14 of the Christian era]), Algiers, 2002.
Mazouz, A. and Deries, L., Djamaa el-kitabat el-arabiya fi el-djazair, kitab el-cherk el-djazairi (Corpus of Arabic inscriptions of Algeria, inscriptions of the Algerian East), Vol. 1, Algiers, 2000.
Leila Merabet "Funerary stele of Mukhlef ibn ‘Uthman" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2021. https://islamicart.museumwnf.org/database_item.php?id=object;ISL;dz;Mus01;3;en
Prepared by: Leila MerabetLeila Merabet
Titulaire d'un magister en archéologie islamique (spécialité épigraphie arabe), conservateur du patrimoine archéologique et historique, Leila Merabet est chef du service Conservation et Valorisation (section islamique) au Musée national des antiquités. Elle a publié de nombreux articles dans les Annales du Musée national des antiquités.
Copyedited by: Margot Cortez
Translation by: Maria Vlotides
Translation copyedited by: Monica Allen
MWNF Working Number: AL 04
Islamic Dynasties / Period
On display in
Discover Islamic Art Exhibition(s)The Muslim West | Funerary Steles: Memorials in Stone
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