Name of Object:

Ceramic tile



Holding Museum:

Islamic Museum, al-Aqsa Mosque / al-Haram al-Sharif

About Islamic Museum, al-Aqsa Mosque / al-Haram al-Sharif, Jerusalem

Date of Object:

Hegira 1233 / AD 1817

Artist(s) / Craftsperson(s):

Mustafa Ali Effendi.

Museum Inventory Number:

12/ ق/39

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Fired clay with underglaze decoration.


Length 36.5 cm, width 27 cm, depth 3 cm

Period / Dynasty:





A rectangular ceramic, glazed tile that was made during the restoration of the Dome of the Rock in AH 1233 / AD 1817 and with the name of one of the tile-makers inscribed on it. The inscription is composed within a 2.5 cm-wide frame of turquoise, undulating with an extremely light-green pigment, which is adjacent to another frame in dark-blue. The text, written in green and black against a pale-green background, reads: “Trust in God 1233 [1817] Mustafa Ali Effendi”. It is known that a number of tile-makers who worked on the restoration at the Dome of the Rock immortalised their names in a similar way, fixing the tiles in various places. The Museum has acquired another tile made by the same tile-maker, which reads: “Reckon with the One God and That is Enough, Mustafa Ali Effendi, 1233 [1817]”. The tiles are very alike; there is only a slight difference in the colour scheme in that the text and the “frame” of the second tile is decorated in dark-blue while the background takes on a very light-blue. There is a third tile by the same maker which was produced after those already discussed. This tile bears the text: “If you ask, Ask God 1234 [1818] Mustafa”. This inscription is written in light-blue against dark-blue.
It is possible that these tiles formed the penultimate stage in the six stages of tile restoration at the Dome of the Rock, the final stage taking place in the 1970s. Despite the tireless attempts of the tile-maker to copy the tiles of former stages while replacing damaged tiles with new ones, one can still distinguish the different stages of restoration by means of the detailed workmanship, the colouration, glazing and in other artistic aspects, all of which help in ascertaining the dates of the restoration process. During the process of restoration a large number of tiles were made in Jerusalem; a number of them have been acquired by the Islamic Museum. However, some of the tiles required for the restoration were imported from Kütahya, or from Iznik in Turkey.

View Short Description

A glazed ceramic tile which (like similar ones) records the name of the craftsman who contributed to the renovation of the Dome of the Rock in AH 1233 / AD 1817. It is painted in a turquoise colour mixed with a light green. The name is written in green and black.

Original Owner:

Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem

How date and origin were established:

The tile inscription states the date of production.

How Object was obtained:

The piece was transferred from the Dome of the Rock to the Islamic Museum during the restoration works of 1966.

How provenance was established:

It is thought that kilns and ceramic workshops were set up at the Haram al-Sharif. However, the tile ceramicists would most likely have been from Damascus, for the names of a number of them repeatedly state the agnomen, “al-Dimashqi”, meaning “from Damascus”.

Selected bibliography:

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.

Citation of this web page:

Nazmi Al-Ju'beh "Ceramic tile" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2021.;ISL;pa;Mus01;32;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 32


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