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On display in the Exhibition(s)The Muslim West | Seats of Power: Palaces
Arabic Calligraphy | Calligraphic Schools
Name of Object:
Numismatic Museum of the Maghreb BankOriginal Owner:
About Numismatic Museum of the Maghreb Bank, Rabat.
J.D. BrèthesMuseum Inventory Number:
Diameter 2.6 cm, weight 4.53 gMaterial(s) / Technique(s):
Cast and struck gold.Date of Object:
Hegira 1020 / AD 1612Period / Dynasty
Sa'didWorkshop / Movement:
Striking workshop in Marrakesh.Description:
This coin, struck by Mulay Zaydan (r. AH 1012–37 / AD 1603–27) is an example of the Sa'did coining of the son of al-Mansur. It is off-centre and off-round, and bears four concentric circles, one of which is stippled.
The centre of the reverse is inscribed with the name, titulature and Sharifian ancestry of the reigning prince: 'Prince of believers, son of the Imam Ahmad al-Mansur, Prince of the believers, the Sharif Hasani'. The circular inscription bears the name of the striking workshop (Marrakesh) and the date: 'Struck in the town of Marrakesh, may God protect it, in the year 1020 [AD 1612]'.
The profession of faith appears in the centre of the obverse, running from top to bottom. In middle appear the initials (alama) and at the bottom ‘Abdallah al-Imam', the name of the prince who founded the dynasty. The circular inscription reproduces the end of Qur'anic verse 33 of Sura 33 ('The Factions'): 'God only wishes to take away from you the horror as people of His House and to purify you thoroughly'. The choice of the end of this verse, which from AH 992 / AD 1584 began to appear on coins, is another reminder of the Sharifian origin of the dynasty.
Despite the clumsiness of the strike, this coin is not free of decorative aspirations: the upstrokes of the cursive letters end in bevels and the texts are embellished with fleurons, small dots, stars and crescent moons scattered over its surface.
A new element appears on this coin: the initials or alama. This type of monogram with which Mulay Zaydan, like his father, signed official documents became the distinctive and hereditary mark of the dynasty. Consequently it was engraved on coins and cannon bronzes. Remarkable for its extent, these initials, also called hamdala, are reminiscent of the tughra used by the Persians and the Ottomans.
View Short DescriptionHow Object was obtained:
Purchased in 1987; part of the Brèthes collection. An enlightened numismatist, Brèthes lived in Morocco in the first half of the 20th century, and built up an important collection of coins found in Morocco from periods throughout its history, from Antiquity to 1940.How date and origin were established:
Inscription on the coin.How provenance was established:
Inscription on the coin.Selected bibliography:
Brèthes, J. D., Contribution à l'histoire du Maroc par les recherches numismatiques, Casablanca, 1939.Citation of this web page:
Castries, H. de, “Les signes de validation des chérifs saadiens”, Hespéris, Rabat, 1921, I, fasc. 3, pp.231–52.
Naima El Khatib-Boujibar "Dinar" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2016. http://www.discoverislamicart.org/database_item.php?id=object;ISL;ma;Mus01_F;41;en
Prepared by: Naima El Khatib-Boujibar
Copyedited by: Margot Cortez
Translation by: Laurence Nunny
Translation copyedited by: Monica Allen
MWNF Working Number: MO 62