Name of Object:

Memorial stone

Location:

Madrid, Spain

Holding Museum:

National Archaeological Museum

About National Archaeological Museum, Madrid

Date of Object:

Hegira 447 / AD 1055

Museum Inventory Number:

50422

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Chiselled and carved marble.

Dimensions:

Height 127 cm, width 50.5 cm, inscribed area 107 x 46 cm

Period / Dynasty

Taifa kingdom of Toledo, dynasty of Banu Dhi'l-Nun (Dhu'l-Nunids)

Provenance:

Toledo, Spain.

Description:

This half-cylinder memorial stone, or stele, made of blue marble, has a rectangular inscription framed with a border. Both the kufic characters and the plaited border are carved on a sunken base and decorated with chisel work. The inscription, which contains a number of prayers to God and identifies the deceased, reads: 'In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate, oh, you men! [have faith] that God's promises are true and do not allow yourselves to be seduced by earthly pleasures, and do not let temptation lead you away from God. This [is] the tomb of ibn Ahmad Muhammad ibn Mugit … He died, God have mercy on him, on the night … year seven and forty and four hundred'.
This type of funerary monument, which seems to originate from Tunisia, in al-Andalus only appears in the region of Toledo and all such pieces share the same formal characteristics. They are cylindrical or semi-cylindrical, widening at the edges, and the inscription, which is always rectangular, is sunken and framed with a border. The funerary inscription tends to include the same information: the name of the deceased and the date of his death, sometimes with prayers to him and even the person reading the inscription. The remainder of the epitaph is religious in character.
Hispano-Muslim tombs are generally very simple, but are very varied. This stone, placed at the head of the tomb, is one example of this variety.

View Short Description

This funerary stone, known as a cipo, is characteristic of Toledo. These cylindrical or semi-cylindrical stelae were placed at the head of the graves of important people.

How date and origin were established:

The inscription includes the date 447 (AD 1055).

How Object was obtained:

The piece was obtained by the National Archaeological Museum from the old Natural History Museum as part of the organisation of the state collection in 1867 (the month and day are unknown). It was undoubtedly part of the original collection of the Museum, which was founded the same year.

How provenance was established:

Both the type of funerary monument and the features of the inscription on it (kufic characters embellished with chisel work) indicate that the piece was made in the Taifa kingdom of Toledo. It came from the convent of San Bartolomé de Toledo.

Selected bibliography:

Creencias y Ritos Funerarios, Guías Didácticas del Museo Arqueológico Nacional, co-ord. A. García Blanco and C. Padilla Montoya,Madrid, 1995, p.26.
Lévi-Provençal, E., Inscriptions Arabes d' Espagne, Paris, 1931, p.71, no. 65, plate 17c.
Revilla Vielva, R., Catálogo de las Antigüedades que Se Conservan en el Patio árabe del Museo Arqueológico Nacional, Madrid, 1932, p.102, no. 238.

Citation of this web page:

Margarita Sánchez Llorente "Memorial stone" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2017. http://www.discoverislamicart.org/database_item.php?id=object;ISL;es;Mus01;20;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 32

RELATED CONTENT

 Artistic Introduction

 Timeline for this item

Islamic Dynasties / Period

Taifas


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