Name of Object:

Crescent from the Dome of the Rock

Location:

Jerusalem

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:

About hegira 12th century / AD 18th century

Museum Inventory Number:

أ/ ن/38

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Crescent forged, assembled.

Dimensions:

Height 490 cm, diameter (of crescent) 90 cm

Period / Dynasty:

Ottoman

Provenance:

Jerusalem.

Description:

A large copper crescent moon that once crowned the dome on the Dome of the Rock, removed in AH 1317 / AD 1899. The crescent consists of five parts: the first is the fluted base that takes the form of an inverted cup, and which was affixed to the apex of the dome. The base is connected by means of a small cylindrical neck to a second part, which consists of a large undecorated mass resembling a sphere. Next is a small cylindrical neck, on top of which is a ring, which transfers it to the third section consisting of a fluted and elongated ovoid form. This part ends with a ring, similar to the former. Adjacent to it is a cylindrical neck that is connected to the fourth part. This consists of a small spherical mass reminiscent of the sphere (the second part). On top of this section is a cylindrical neck, which forms the zone of transition to the fifth and final part of the section, the crescent.
The crescent consists of a circle whose diameter measures 90 cm, and which takes a principal position. It is thickest at its lowest part, tapering in along the two sides to reach, at its height, its thinnest form. This crescent is considered one of the largest used on any building in the Islamic world, and on account of what we know about the singularity of its size, it may be the largest acquired by any museum. The Islamic Museum in Jerusalem acquired two other great crescents, which were brought from the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque respectively. The crescent shown here is in good condition and is undecorated as the crescent was placed at such lofty heights that no eye could possibly discern or distinguish any decorative detail.

View Short Description

This large copper crescent crowned the apex of the Dome of the Rock. It has a circular ribbed base in the form of an inverted cup and continues in a number of forms to end with a large circle whose diameter measures 90 cm. This crescent is considered one of the largest in the Islamic World, and is probably the largest housed in a museum.

Original Owner:

Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem

How date and origin were established:

The crescent was dated based on a comparison with similar pieces whose dates are agreed.

How Object was obtained:

The piece was transferred following its removal from the Dome of the Rock to storage facilities at the Agency of Islamic Awqaf in the Haram al-Sharif; it was transferred to the Islamic Museum in around 1923.

How provenance was established:

Jerusalem was narrowed down as the place of production because such a large object as this would probably have been made on site.

Citation of this web page:

Nazmi Al-Ju'beh "Crescent from 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;46;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 46

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Islamic Dynasties / Period

Ottomans


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