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Ceramic tombstone of Jalal al-Din cAbd al-Malik


Height: 131.000 cm

Godman Bequest

ME OA G 1983.499

Room 34: The Islamic world

    Ceramic tombstone of Jalal al-Din cAbd al-Malik

    From Kashan, Iran
    About AD 1270

    A qadi, an Islamic judge

    This is the tombstone of a qadi (an Islamic judge) called Jalal al-Din cAbd al-Malik. He is described as malik al-calama ('king of the learned men') and there follows his genealogy of seven earlier generations of qadis. A quotation from the Qur'an (Ayat al-kursi II:254-55) is inscribed around the outside frame. A short amount of verse is missing at either end of the quotation, suggesting that at a third tile once completed the monument. The tiles are moulded as a blind alcove, surrounded by a lobed arch and two slender columns, representing a mihrab.

    The monumental calligraphy and its surrounding frames are painted in cobalt blue, in contrast to the miniature patterns in bronze lustre in the background. A larger and more precise version of this tiny pattern can be seen in a later example of monumental lustre-painted tiles from Kashan, which uses the same contrast of blue script against lustre patterns.

    V. Porter, Islamic tiles (London, The British Museum Press, 1995)