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On display in the Exhibition(s)The Muslim West | Funerary Steles: Memorials in Stone
Name of Object:
Prismatic funerary steleHolding Museum:
Museum of the UdayasOriginal Owner:
About Museum of the Udayas, Rabat.
A Rabat antique dealerMuseum Inventory Number:
Height 21.5 cm, length 86.3 cm, width 20 cm, width of inscribed area 6 cmMaterial(s) / Technique(s):
Sculpted white marble.Date of Object:
Hegira 988 / AD 1580Period / 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 DescriptionHow Object was obtained:
Purchased by the fine arts and antiquities board in 1930 and deposited with the museum.How date and origin were established:
The date is included in the epitaph.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. http://www.discoverislamicart.org/database_item.php?id=object;ISL;ma;Mus01_B;29;en
Prepared by: Naima El Khatib-Boujibar
Copyedited by: Margot Cortez
Translation by: Laurence Nunny
Translation copyedited by: Monica Allen
MWNF Working Number: MO 38