Name of Object:

Foundation plaque

Location:

Madrid, Spain

Holding Museum:

National Archaeological Museum

About National Archaeological Museum, Madrid

Date of Object:

Hegira 357 / AD 968

Museum Inventory Number:

1907/32/101

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Sculpted marble.

Dimensions:

Height 86 cm, width 61 cm, depth 17 cm

Period / Dynasty

Umayyads of al-Andalus, Caliphate period

Provenance:

Castle at Baños de la Encina, Jaen, Spain.

Description:

Foundation plaque of a defensive construction. The piece is a rectangular prism, the front of which bears a kufic inscription in relief, framed with a moulding. The archaic and orientalising characters, quite deteriorated from the fifth line onwards, are difficult to read. The last line is almost completely illegible. The best-preserved part reads 'In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. God's servant al-Hakam al-Mustansir bi Allah, Amir of the faithful, may God prolong his life, was ordered to build this tower (burj) under the direction of his mawla and Qa'id Maysur ibn al-Hakam. It was finished and completed with God's help and existence in the month of Ramadan of the year seven and fifty and three hundred'.
The inscription makes reference to the Caliph al-Hakam II (r. AH 350–66 / AD 961–76), under whose orders the building was erected. The term burj (tower, castle) relates to the beginning of this construction. The plaque commemorates the foundation of the castle at Baños de la Encina (Jaen) and is one of the few surviving castles from the Umayyad period.
Since midway through the AH 2nd / AD 8th century, the construction of defensive fortifications was common in the Iberian Peninsula. Initially this was undoubtedly due to the small number of Muslims available to defend the positions conquered, and later this type of building became increasingly widespread to protect roads and paths as the Christian Reconquista advanced. The enclosure of the castle at Baños de la Encina was probably constructed as a barrack for troops and to defend the network of roads leading out of Córdoba.

View Short Description

This plaque, in quite deteriorated kufic characters, mentions the construction of a castle at the behest of the Umayyad Caliph al-Hakam II. It was found near to Baños de la Encina, and is thought to refer to that town’s fortress.

How date and origin were established:

The inscription on the plaque indicates the year AH 357 / AD 968.

How Object was obtained:

The piece was deposited with the National Archaeological Museum by the Royal Academy of History on 28 June 1907.

How provenance was established:

According to the deposit report, the piece came from the castle at Baños de la Encina, Jaen.

Selected bibliography:

Lévi-Provençal, E., Inscriptions Arabes d'Espagne, Paris, 1931, p.134, no. 150, plate 32a.
Revilla Vielva, R., Catálogo de las Antigüedades que Se Conservan en el Patio árabe del Museo Arqueológico Nacional, Madrid, 1932, pp.92–3, no. 226.
El Zoco. Vida Económica y Artes Tradicionales en al-Andalus y Marruecos, Jaen, 1995, p.98.

Citation of this web page:

Margarita Sánchez Llorente "Foundation plaque" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2017. http://www.discoverislamicart.org/database_item.php?id=object;ISL;es;Mus01;19;en

Prepared by: Margarita Sánchez LlorenteMargarita Sánchez Llorente

Margarita Sánchez Llorente cursó estudios de Historia del Arte y Psicología en la facultad de Filosofía y Letras de la Universidad Complutense de Madrid, obteniendo la licenciatura en 1974.Tras realizar numerosos cursos de posgrado en museología y documentación del patrimonio histórico-artístico y arqueológico, le fueron concedidas varias becas de investigación en museística. De 1989 a 2000 trabajó en el Museo Arqueológico Nacional, en la gestión y documentación de los proyectos de la Unión Europea: EMN (European Museum Network), RAMA (Remote Access to Museum Archives) y –como colaboradora del departamento de Antigüedades Egipcias y del Próximo Oriente– Champollion. Ha participado en numerosos coloquios y encuentros internacionales y publicado varios artículos sobre las nuevas tecnologías aplicadas a la documentación en los museos.

Copyedited by: Rosalía AllerRosalía Aller

Rosalía Aller Maisonnave, licenciada en Letras (Universidad Católica del Uruguay), y en Filología Hispánica y magíster en Gestión Cultural de Música, Teatro y Danza (Universidad Complutense de Madrid), ha obtenido becas de la Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional y la Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia de Madrid, así como el Diplôme de Langue Française (Alliance Française), el Certificate of Proficiency in English (University of Cambridge) y el Certificado Superior en inglés y francés (Escuela Oficial de Idiomas de Madrid). Profesora de Estética de la Poesía y Teoría Literaria en la Universidad Católica del Uruguay, actualmente es docente de Lengua Castellana y Literatura en institutos de Enseñanza Secundaria y formación del profesorado en Madrid. Desde 1983, ha realizado traducción y edición de textos en Automated Training Systems, Applied Learning International, Videobanco Formación y El Derecho Editores. Integra el equipo de Museo Sin Fronteras desde 1999 y ha colaborado en la revisión de los catálogos de “El Arte Islámico en el Mediterráneo”. Así mismo, ha realizado publicaciones sobre temas literarios y didácticos, ha dictado conferencias y ha participado en recitales poéticos.

Translation by: Laurence Nunny
Translation copyedited by: Monica Allen

MWNF Working Number: SP 31

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