Prayer pulpit (minbar)
National Museum of Antiquities and Islamic Arts
Hegira 490 / AD 1097
Wood assembled through tenons and mortises, bas-relief carving and marquetry.
Height 230 cm, length 264 cm, width 73 cm
This minbar features seven steps that are held up by two pentagonal sides, decorated with triangular, square and trapezium-shaped panels that have been joined through tenons and mortises. An interrupted horseshoe arch is positioned at the foot of the steps on two supports that are ornamented with vegetal decoration. This structure is linked at its sides by two lateral arches of the same height, which are likewise resting on two supports, their upper parts interlinked by a banister. The upper section of this entrance is adorned with candleholders.
The panels are sculpted in bas-relief, embellished with floral or geometric decoration; the frontal arch features floral decoration, and, embracing the shape of the arch, a kufic inscription reads, rising from the right-hand side, 'In the name of Allah, the Merciful Benefactor. This pulpit was created'; sideways: 'The first of the month of Rajab; and rising from the left, 'of the year 490 [AD 1097]. The work of Muhammad'.
This seven-stepped pulpit with side panels bears geometric and floral motifs, and a kufic inscription dating the object and naming its maker. The first step is covered by a pointed horseshoe arch.
The inscription that features kufic characters on the arch preceding the steps of the minbar holds the date 490 (AD 1097.
Donation from the Religious Affairs Ministry; a ministerial decision taken in 1998 entrusted the minbar to the National Museum of Antiquities and Islamic Arts.
The minbar had been used in the Great Mosque of Algiers.
Bourouiba, R., L'art religieux musulman en Algérie, Algiers, 1973.
Bourouiba, R., Les inscriptions commémoratives des mosquées d'Algérie, Algiers, 1984.
Marçais, G., L'architecture musulmane d'Occident, Paris, 1954.
Marçais, G., Manuel d'art musulman, Paris, 1927.
Marçais, G., “Note sur la chaire à prêcher de la Grande Mosquée d'Alger”, Hespéris, 1926, pp.419–22.
Leila Merabet "Prayer pulpit (minbar)" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2018. http://www.discoverislamicart.org/database_item.php?id=object;ISL;dz;Mus01;6;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 09
Islamic Dynasties / Period
On display in
Discover Islamic Art Exhibition(s)The Muslim West | Mosques: A Place for Prayer
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