Name of Object:

Fragment of a basin


Algiers, Algeria

Holding Museum:

National Museum of Antiquities and Islamic Arts


Hegira 5th century / AD 11th century

Type of object:

Basin, marble

Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Sculpted white marble.


Length 51.5 cm, width 21 cm, thickness 7.5 cm

Period / Dynasty:

Taifa Kingdoms


Al-Andalus (Spain).


Fragment of a basin sculpted in low relief, triangular in shape, both parts of which have been restored. Two of the sides are flat, the third is curved.
The scene on the basin, of which only a part has survived, depicts hawking. The torso and part of the thigh of a horse rider can be distinguished, clothed in a pleated tunic belted around the waist by a large belt, and holding a white weapon in the right hand. Behind him, a falconer, whose face is mutilated and whose lower limbs have been amputated, and who is wearing a tunic that is open in front and tightened at the waist by a narrower belt, holds a dead hare. In his left hand, he holds up a falcon, of which only one foot and a bit of the tail can be seen above the horse's rump, the lower part of which is missing. A section of tree trunk, which could belong to a palm tree, appears behind the falconer.
To the left of this scene lies an inscription consisting of two lines in kufic lettering. The first line is rather difficult to interpret ; the second reads as follows: ' …ine wa arba'ou maya … amal ibn …' (…four hundred…the work of Ibn…). 'ine' cannot be translated as it is the last syllable of a number that could just as well be forty as seventy or even ninety.

View Short Description

How date and origin were established:

The object features a date which is missing the numerals representing single units and units of tens, and thus can only be placed somewhere between 440 and 489 (1048 and 1096).

How Object was obtained:

Gift of Edmond Doutté, who acquired it in Rabat in 1902, during an exploration in Morocco.

How provenance was established:

Through comparing this bas-relief fragment to basins from al-Andalus, Marçais was able to attribute this fragment to a basin, which could have been used for ablutions, of the same origin.

Selected bibliography:

Marçais, G., Le musée Stéphane Gsell, musée des antiquités et d'art musulman d'Alger, Algiers, 1950.
Marçais, G., “Sur un bas-relief musulman du musée Stéphane Gsell”, Annales de l'Institut d'études orientales, Vol. I, 1934–5, pp.162–75.

Citation of this web page:

Leila Merabet "Fragment of a basin" in Discover Islamic Art , Museum With No Frontiers, 2018.;ISL;dz;Mus01;47;en&id=religious_life

Prepared by: Leila MerabetLeila Merabet

Titulaire d'un magister en archéologie islamique (spécialité épigraphie arabe), conservateur du patrimoine archéologique et historique, Leila Merabet est chef du service Conservation et Valorisation (section islamique) au Musée national des antiquités. Elle a publié de nombreux articles dans les Annales du Musée national des antiquités.

Copyedited by: Margot Cortez
Translation by: Maria Vlotides
Translation copyedited by: Monica Allen

MWNF Working Number: AL 89