Umayyad Capital with Inscription
The artist has carved this capital from marble and has punctured the stone in order to convey its decoration; a pattern that features acanthus-style leaves - a common motif upon Umayyad capitals of the 10th century - amongst other swirling petals and plants (for an example with acanthus leaves see, J. D. Dodds, Al-Andalus: The Art of Islamic Spain, London, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1992, p. 241, fig.34). This work closely resembles the forms of stone capitals made in Madinat al-Zahra, Spain, where the royal Umayyad Dynasty family resided in the tenth century. A parallel example can be found in the Museo Arqueológico Provincial de Córdoba, Spain which features a similar pattern and curling acanthus leaf motifs (reprinted in, J. D. Dodds, Al-Andalus: The Art of Islamic Spain, London, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1992, p.245, fig. 38). The piece also contains an inscription of the Arabic word ‘amal’ which can be translated as ‘made by’, which formed part of the artist’s signature. We know this from another similar capital, probably from Córdoba, housed in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Like our piece it also contains an inscription in a similar place which reads ‘amal’ followed by the craftsman’s name.