Name of Object:

Monetary weight (sandja)


Constantine, Algeria

Holding Museum:

National Museum of Cirta


Hegira 407–547 / AD 1015–1152

Type of object:

Monetary weight, sandja,

Museum Inventory Number:

4H Ve 238

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Pâte de verre, stamped.


Diameter 2.5 cm, thickness 0.45 cm, weight 5 g

Period / Dynasty:



Qal’at Bani Hammad, Algeria.


A token that is round in form and of a green colour. One side has been pressed with a stamp whose cursive characters could be translated to mean: 'The supreme power belongs to God Abdesslam'. The seal sits within a circle that has not been well centred, whose left edge shows signs of having been milled.
Researchers differ as to the exact use of these discs. Some interpret them to be standards of monetary weights and measures, while others believe that these pieces of pâte de verre substituted for copper coins or even commercial weights. Laily (see Bibliography) considers this disc to be a controlling standard that is equivalent in weight to two dirham.

View Short Description

How date and origin were established:

Found in the Qal'at Bani Hammad (5th–6th / 11th–12th centuries).

How Object was obtained:

Blanchet excavations, 1897.

How provenance was established:

Blanchet excavations, 1897.

Selected bibliography:

Beylié, général de, La Kalaa des Beni Hammad, une capitale berbère de l'Afrique du Nord au XIe siècle, Paris, 1909.
Bourouiba, R., Les H'ammadites, Algiers, 1984.
Laily, P. A., La collection des poids en verre polychrome du musée de Cirta, Constantine, études et recherches, Algiers, 1983.

Citation of this web page:

Leila Merabet "Monetary weight (sandja)" in Discover Islamic Art , Museum With No Frontiers, 2019.;ISL;dz;Mus01;11;en&id=weights_and_measures

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

MWNF Working Number: AL 15