Name of Object:

Prismatic funerary stele


Rabat, Morocco

Holding Museum:

Museum of the Udayas

Date of Object:

Hegira 988 / AD 1580

Museum Inventory Number:

D 4420

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Sculpted white marble.


Height 21.5 cm, length 86.3 cm, width 20 cm, width of inscribed area 6 cm

Period / Dynasty





Stele with a prismatic top crowned by a torus. The cavetto-moulded side edges delimit the inscribed area that spreads over each face in a single line of text. The regular cursive characters are decorated with plant motifs consisting of curvilinear foliage bearing single smooth palms, asymmetrical calyx palms or symmetrical palms in the form of fleurons, whose calyxes form arch lobes.
The epitaph reads as follows: on one side, after the ta'wida (sacred formula of entreaty to God) come the Qur'anic verses 26 and 27 of Sura 55 ('The Benefactor') followed by the first words of the text: 'This is the tomb'. The other face bears the name of the deceased, her lineage and name, the position of her husband and the date of death: 'of the free woman Fatima daughter of Caid Ahmed al-Rik, 'alj, wife of Caid ‘Abdallah Tamdart. She died in the middle ten days of Rabi II 988 [late May 1580]'.
This tells us that the father of the deceased, whose name al-Rik could be a corruption of the Spanish first name Enrique, was originally not a Muslim ('alj) and that, like her husband, he was a caid. Furthermore, a second, similar funerary stele tells us that he had another daughter married to the doctor of the family of the Sa'did monarch Mansur al-Dhahabi. This tells us that the deceased came from a family of high-ranking officials who were close to power, and this is why a stele of this type, found in al-Andalus and Morocco since Almoravid times and since Marinid times reserved only for princes and respected families, was made for her. These steles, or mqabriya, always in fine white marble, were very carefully made by highly skilled marble masons.

View Short Description

This stele was erected in honour of the daughter and wife of a caid. Its prismatic shape, known in al-Andalus since Almoravid times, had since Marinid times been used exclusively for princes and the families of notables, and consequently they were produced with great care by master marble masons.

Original Owner:

A Rabat antique dealer

How date and origin were established:

The date is included in the epitaph.

How Object was obtained:

Purchased by the fine arts and antiquities board in 1930 and deposited with the museum.

How provenance was established:

Information provided by the inventory register.

Selected bibliography:

Deverdun, G. Inscriptions arabes de Marrakech, Rabat, 1956.

Citation of this web page:

Naima El Khatib-Boujibar "Prismatic funerary stele" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2016.;ISL;ma;Mus01_B;29;en

Prepared by: Naima El Khatib-BoujibarNaima El Khatib-Boujibar

Archéologue et historienne de l'art, titulaire d'une licence en lettres (française), N. Elkhatib-Boujibar a également étudié l'archéologie et l'histoire de l'art à l'Institut d'art et d'archéologie de Paris, l'art islamique et la muséologie à l'École du Louvre (Paris), et suivi des cours à l'Institut d'ethnographie de l'Université de Neuchâtel (Suisse). Elle a occupé plusieurs postes de responsabilité, parmi lesquels directrice des Musées et de l'Archéologie, inspectrice générale des Musées et de l'Archéologie, déléguée régionale du ministère de la Culture.
Elle a dirigé un chantier de fouille durant 20 ans et enseigné à l'Institut national marocain des sciences de l'archéologie et du patrimoine (INSAP). Elle a organisé différentes expositions sur le patrimoine marocain, au Maroc comme à l'étranger, et animé des cycles de conférence, dont celui sur l'art islamique à la “Villa des Arts” à Casablanca.
N. El Khatib-Boujibar a publié différents articles sur le patrimoine archéologique, artistique et architectural marocain, mais aussi sur d'autres sites islamiques et sur les arts mobiliers. Elle a également participé à la rédaction du catalogue Musée Sans Frontières Le Maroc andalou, à la rencontre d'un art de vivre.

Copyedited by: Margot Cortez
Translation by: Laurence Nunny
Translation copyedited by: Monica Allen

MWNF Working Number: MO 38


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Islamic Dynasties / Period


On display in

Discover Islamic Art Exhibition(s)

The Muslim West | Funerary Steles: Memorials in Stone

MWNF Galleries

Calligraphy Funerary objects


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