Collection online

alam

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    1888,0901.17

  • Description

    Alam (processional standard) for a Shi'i religious parade, made of gilded and openwork brass; with Arabic inscriptions.

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 18thC
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 127.5 centimetres
    • Width: 26.7 centimetres
    • Thickness: 4.5 centimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Script

        Nasta'liq and Thuluth
      • Inscription Position

        along the shaft of the `alam from top to join with body
      • Inscription Language

        Arabic
      • Inscription Transliteration

        Allah Jalla; Muhammad `Ali; Fatima; al-Hasan al-Husayn; `Ali Muhammad; Ja`far Musa; `Ali Muhammad; `Ali al-Hasan; `Ali Allah; Ya `Ali
      • Inscription Translation

        God is mighty;
      • Inscription Comment

        After 'God is mighty' in the roundel at the top of the `alam, thirteen of the fourteen Immaculate ones are listed in order. The 12th imam is not mentioned and the last roundel contains the names of `Ali and Allah.The largest roundel at the top of the pear-shaped end, is inscribed with the invocation 'Oh `Ali'.

        The inscriptions are from top to bottom as follows:

        Top roundel: Allah Jalla = “God is mighty”
        Long cartouche: Muhammad `Ali = The Prophet Muhammad and Imam ‘Ali b. Abi Talib (first Imam)
        Roundel: Fatima = Bibi Fatima (daughter of the Prophet Muhammad, wife of Imam ‘Ali and mother of Imams al-Hasan and al-Husayn)
        Long cartouche: al-Hasan al-Husayn = Imam al-Hasan and Imam al-Husayn (second and third Imams)
        Roundel: `Ali Muhammad = Imam ‘Ali ibn al-Husayn Zain al-‘Abidin and Imam Muhammad ibn ‘Ali al-Baqir (fourth and fifth Imams)
        Long Cartouche: Ja`far Musa = Imam Ja’far ibn Muhammad al-Sadiq and Imam Musa ibn Ja’far al-Kazim (or al-Kadhim) (sixth and seventh Imams)
        Roundel: `Ali Muhammad = Imam ‘Ali ibn Musa al-Reza (or al-Rida) and Imam Muhammad ibn ‘Ali Taqi al-Jawad (eighth and ninth Imams)
        Long Cartouche: `Ali al-Hasan = Imam ‘Ali ibn Muhammad Naqi al-Hadi and Imam Hasan ibn ‘Ali al-‘Askari (tenth and eleventh Imams)
        [NB: name of the twelfth Imam is missing: Imam Muhammad ibn Hasan al-Mahdi]
        Roundel: `Ali Allah = Imam ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (first Imam) and Allah

        Large roundel above the pear-shaped element: Ya `Ali = “Oh ‘Ali” (first Imam)

        Pear shaped element: Allah Muhammad Fatima `Ali al-Hasan al-Husayn = Allah and the names of Ahl al-Bayt (i.e. People of the Prophet’s House)
  • Curator's comments

    The fourteen 'immaculate ones' in Ithna 'Ashari or Twelver Shiism comprise the Prophet Muhammad, his daughter Fatima and the 12 Shi'i Imams:

    1.    Imam ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib
    2.    Imam al-Hasan ibn ‘Ali
    3.    Imam al-Husayn ibn ‘Ali
    4.    Imam ‘Ali ibn al-Husayn Zain al-‘Abidin
    5.    Imam Muhammad ibn ‘Ali al-Baqir
    6.    Imam Ja’far ibn Muhammad al-Sadiq
    7.    Imam Musa ibn Ja’far al-Kazim (or al-Kadhim)
    8.    Imam ‘Ali ibn Musa al-Reza (or al-Rida)
    9.    Imam Muhammad ibn ‘Ali Taqi al-Jawad
    10.    Imam ‘Ali ibn Muhammad Naqi al-Hadi
    11.    Imam Hasan ibn ‘Ali al-‘Askari
    12.    Imam Muhammad ibn Hasan al-Mahdi

    More 

  • Bibliography

    • Porter 2003 bibliographic details
  • Location

    On display: G34/dc37

  • Exhibition history

    Exhibited:

    2004 7 Jan-7 Apr, Kuala Lumpur, Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia, 'Mightier than the Sword'
    2003 22 Mar-25 May, University of Melbourne, Ian Potter Museum of Art, 'Mightier than the Sword'

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1888

  • Department

    Middle East

  • Registration number

    1888,0901.17

Alam. Inscription. Made of gilded and openwork brass.

Alam. Inscription. Made of gilded and openwork brass.

Image description

Recommend


Feedback

If you’ve noticed a mistake or have any further information about this object, please email: collectiondatabase@britishmuseum.org 

View open data for this object with SPARQL endpoint

Object reference number: RRM10460

British Museum collection data is also available in the W3C open data standard, RDF, allowing it to join and relate to a growing body of linked data published by organisations around the world.

View this object

Support the Museum:
donate online

The Museum makes its collection database available to be used by scholars around the world. Donations will help support curatorial, documentation and digitisation projects.

About the database

The British Museum collection database is a work in progress. New records, updates and images are added every week.

More about the database 

Supporters

Work on this database is supported by a range of sponsors, donors and volunteers.

More about supporters and how you
can help  

Loading...