Name of Object:

Fountain spout

Location:

Madrid, Spain

Holding Museum:

National Archaeological Museum

About National Archaeological Museum, Madrid

Date of Object:

Hegira 339–90 / AD 950–1000

Museum Inventory Number:

1943/41L1

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Bronze, lost-wax casting, engraved and gilded.

Dimensions:

Height 32.3 cm, length 31.5 cm

Period / Dynasty

Umayyads of al-Andalus, Caliphate period

Provenance:

Córdoba, Spain.

Description:

Small gilded bronze sculpture in the form of a hind. The figure is fragile and disproportionate. Almost all of the surface is covered with delicate oriental plant decoration (lotus flowers inscribed in circles) which make it look as if it is swathed in a rich fabric. Judging from the remains left in the grooves of the engraving and various parts of the body, the piece would have been completely gilded.
The simple forms of the body, its facial characteristics and its legs, which end with discs and are extremely short in relation to its body, are reminiscent of representations of animals that appear in Fatimid ceramics.
This sculpture undoubtedly served as a fountain spout because, apart from the legs, its body is hollow and there is a hole in its belly to allow water to pass through and cascade out of its mouth.
The presence of water in Umayyad gardens was a sign of wealth, luxury and well-being. Fountains were an important aesthetic element in Islamic palaces in the West and in al-Andalus in particular. This hind would probably have been accompanied by other bronze animals.

View Short Description

Its cloven hoofs, the base of its horns and its short pointed tail suggest that this animal is a fawn. It would undoubtedly have been used as a spout in a basin or fountain in a Córdoban palace, with the water entering through a duct beneath the belly and coming out through the mouth.

How date and origin were established:

By stylistic analysis. Although the Madrid hind is smaller and less stylised, it is clearly similar to other pieces found in the 10th / 16th century among the ruins of the Madinat al-Zahra palace, one of which can be found in the Archaeological Museum of Córdoba. The second disappeared at the start of the 19th centuryfrom the Monastery of Guadalupe, where it was being stored, but has recently been recovered and has been in the Qatar National Museum since 1997.

How Object was obtained:

The hind was bought by the National Archaeological Museum on 3 February 1940.

How provenance was established:

Some researchers believe that this piece could have been imported from Fatimid Egypt. However, its discovery in the province of Córdoba and the similarities to the deer of Córdoba and Qatar suggest that the three sculptures were produced, if not in the same workshop, at least in the same geographical area of al-Andalus, where metalwork workshops developed.

Selected bibliography:

Camps Cazorla, E., “Ciervo Califal de Bronce”, in Adquisiciones del Museo Arqueológico Nacional (1940–1945), Madrid, 1947.
Camps Cazorla, E., “Un Nuevo Ciervo Califal de Bronce”, in Archivo Español de Arte, Madrid, 1943, pp.212–22.
El Esplendor de los Omeyas Cordobeses, Exhibition catalogue, Granada, 2001.
Gómez Moreno, M., El Arte Árabe Español Hasta los Almohades. Arte Mozárabe, Ars Hispaniae, Vol. III, Madrid, 1951, p.336.
Zozaya, J., “Importaciones Casuales en al-Andalus”, in Actas del IV Congreso de Arqueología Medieval Española, Vol. I, Alicante, 1993, p.125.

Citation of this web page:

Margarita Sánchez Llorente "Fountain spout" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2017. http://www.discoverislamicart.org/database_item.php?id=object;ISL;es;Mus01;1;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 01

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