Name of Object:

Glass weights

Location:

Amman, Jordan

Holding Museum:

Jordan Archaeological Museum

About Jordan Archaeological Museum, Amman

Date of Object:

J.16547. Hegira 411–27 / AD 1021–36; J.16546. Hegira 427–87 / AD 1036–94

Museum Inventory Number:

J.16546; J.16547; J.16550

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Cast glass.

Dimensions:

Diameter (in the range) 26–27 mm, weights 4.68 g; 5.02 g; 5.15 g

Period / Dynasty

J.16547. Fatimid (Al-Zahir); J.16546. Fatimid (Al-Mustansir)

Provenance:

Probably Egypt.

Description:

Dark-gray coloured glass weights used to verify the weights of coins, most of which were produced in Egypt. The weights are small, round glass discs with an impressed inscription of the name and title of the caliph or the name of the governor on them.

The glass weights depicted here are from the Fatimid period a dynasty which broke away from the Abbasid caliphate and established a new caliphate in North Africa and Egypt during the period AH 297–567 / AD 909–1181, such weights are principally from the reigns of the two Fatimid Caliphs al-Zahir (r. AH 411–27 / AD 1021–36), and al-Mustansir (r. AH 427–87 / AD 1036–94).

The weights bear the following titular inscriptions written in foliated kufic script:

J.16546: bears the name of the commander of the faithful: الامام معد ابو تميم المستنصر (امير المؤمنين) ('Al-Imam Mu`id Abu Tamim al-Mustansir Billah (Amir al-Mu`minin)' within an embossed frame and circle.

J.16547: bears the name of the commander of the faithful الظاهر لاعزاز دين الله (امير المؤمنين) 'al-Zahir li-izaz Dein Allah (Amir al-Mu`minin)' within an embossed frame and circle.

J.16550: bears only the name of God: الله 'Allah'

View Short Description

Glass weights from Ayla in Aqaba, used to verify the weights of coins. These small, round glass discs have impressed inscriptions; two bear the names of the Fatimid Caliphs al-Zahir (r. AH 411–27 / AD 1021–36), and al-Mustansir (r. AH 427–87 / AD 1036–94), while the third bears the name of God.

How date and origin were established:

The weights have inscriptions impressed on one side of them that give the names and titles of two Fatimid caliphs: al-Zahir (r. AH 411–27 / AD 1021–36), and al-Mustansir (r. AH 427–87 / AD 1036–94).

How Object was obtained:

The weights were recovered during the course of an archaeological excavation carried out in 1990 at the site of Islamic Ayla, modern-day Aqaba.

How provenance was established:

These weights were probably manufactured in Egypt during the Fatimid period a dynasty which broke away from the Abbasid caliphate and established a new caliphate in North Africa and Egypt during the period AH 297–567 / AD 909–1181.

Selected bibliography:

النبراوي.رأفت، الصنج الزجاجية للسكة الفاطمية المحفوظة بمتحف الفن الإسلامي بالقاهرة، القاهرة، 1997، ص 241و363.

Whitcomb, D., Ayla: Art and Industry in the Islamic Port of Aqaba, Chicago, 1994, pp.18–20.

Citation of this web page:

Aida Naghawy "Glass weights" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2017. http://www.discoverislamicart.org/database_item.php?id=object;ISL;jo;Mus01;33;en

Prepared by: Aida NaghawyAida Naghawy

Aida Naghawy is an archaeologist and the Director of Jordan Archaeological Museum. She studied archaeology at the University of Jordan where she gained her MA. She was affiliated to the Jordanian Department of Antiquities from 1974 as a curator of Jordan Archaeological Museum. In 1981 she became inspector of Jerash antiquities and co-ordinator of the Jerash International Rehabilitation project. She was also head of the archaeological awareness section at the Department of Antiquities. Aida is the author of numerous publications on Islamic coins. She has carried out excavation work in Jerash and is the founder of Jerash Archaeological Museum and the Islamic Museum of the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs.

Copyedited by: Mandi Gomez

MWNF Working Number: JO 69

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