Tile from ceramic inscription panel of the Dome of the Rock
Islamic Museum, al-Aqsa Mosque / al-Haram al-Sharif
Hegira 976 / AD 1560
أ / ق/39
Fired clay with underglaze decoration.
Length (of a single tile) 25 cm, width 25 cm, depth 3 cm
A tile forming part of a ceramic inscription panel that once decorated the exterior octagonal pinnacle of the Dome of the Rock. Sultan Sulayman the Magnificent (r. AH 926–73 / AD 1520–66) commissioned the panel while renovation work of the Dome of the Rock was being carried out, in around AH 969 / AD 1560. Each tile is 25 cm high by 25 cm long, and the whole inscription panel is 160 m long. The panel is decorated with a long Qur'anic inscription consisting of the complete text of the chapter “Ya-sin” (Chapter 36). The text is written in the Ottoman thuluth script in white against a dark-blue background. The inscription is interspersed with vegetal decoration consisting of intertwining spiralling stems, with blossoms and leaves. The tiles have a characteristic simplicity, and are of fine colouring and very detailed workmanship. The tiles represent an early example of Ottoman ceramics, used generally in architecture during the period, and more specifically in the Dome of the Rock. Buildings were often panelled with ceramic tiles during the Ottoman period, in fact, such tile work is a distinguishing trait of Ottoman contributions to the restoration and renovation of holy places, not only in Jerusalem but also in places such as Mecca and Medina.
The Islamic Museum have acquired all sections of this inscription panel which was removed from The Dome of the Rock in 1960 during restoration works. The Museum has since housed and preserved the inscription panel as a witness to the first stage of ceramic-tile panelling on the outer walls of the Dome of the Rock. It is worth noting that previous to these tiles, the outer octagon of Dome of the Rock was covered with a glass mosaic, which had deteriorated badly due to age, until Sulayman the Magnificent ordered the removal of the damaged mosaic and replaced it with these tiles.
A glazed tile from a band that wrapped round the exterior octagonal pinnacle of the Dome of the Rock, ordered by Sultan Sulayman the Magnificent during his renovation of the Dome. It is written in thuluth script in white against a dark-blue background. The verses are interposed with vegetal decorations.
Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem
The inscription panel is dated.
The piece was transferred in 1960 from the Dome of the Rock to the Islamic Museum.
Jerusalem was narrowed down as the place of production for these tiles. This is supported by historical sources indicating the presence of a workforce and Ottoman ceramic tile-making kilns in the area.
Al-'Arif, 'A., Tarikh Qubbat al-Sakhra wa al-Masjid al-Aqsa [The History of the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque], Jerusalem, 1955.
Laurent, B., “The Dome of the Rock: Restorations and Significance”, in S. Auld, and R. Hillenbrand (eds), Ottoman Jerusalem, London, 2000.
Nazmi Al-Ju'beh "Tile from ceramic inscription panel of the Dome of the Rock" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2021. https://islamicart.museumwnf.org/database_item.php?id=object;ISL;pa;Mus01;31;en
Prepared by: Nazmi Al-Ju'behNazmi Al-Ju'beh
Nazmi Al-Ju'beh is an archaeologist and historian and Co-Director of RIWAQ, Centre for Architectural Conservation in Ramallah, Palestine. He studied at Birzeit University in Palestine and at Tübingen University in Germany. He taught at Birzeit University and at al-Quds University. He was Director of the Islamic Museum, al-Haram al-Sharif, Jerusalem, and directed various cultural heritage projects in Palestine, including surveys of archaeological and architectural sites. He was a major contributor to Pilgrimage, Sciences and Sufism: Islamic Art in the West Bank and Gaza (Vienna: MWNF, 2004) and is the author of numerous publications on the history, archaeology and cultural heritage of Palestine.
Copyedited by: Majd Musa
Translation by: Amal Sachedina (from the Arabic).
Translation 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: PA 31
Islamic Dynasties / Period
On display in
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