Exhibitions/ Art Object

Tombstone of Ism‘ail ibn ‘Abd al-Salam ibn Sawwar

9th century
Made in Egypt
28 1/8 x 11 x 1 9/16 in. (71.5 x 28 x 4 cm)
Credit Line:
Benaki Museum, Athens (10783)
Not on view
The elaborate floriated Kufic inscription contains the name of the deceased, Ism‘ail ibn ‘Abd al Salam ibn Sawwar, and a profession of faith. The pointed arch supported by columns framing the text is similar in form to mihrabs in mosques, which direct the prayers of the faithful toward Mecca. The scrolling vine at the top is a further development of the vine scrolls of the Byzantine tradition.
Inscription: In Arabic: In the name of God the Compassionate / Merciful this is / the testimony of Ism‘ail / ibn ‘Abd al-Salam ibn Saw-? / war that there is no God but God / the one there is no partner with him . . . / . . . / . . . and that / Muhammad is his servant and his messenger / may God bless him and give him peace / and that death and paradise / and fire are truth . . .
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition (7th–9th Century)," March 12, 2012–July 8, 2012.