Height: 131.000 cm
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)