Marble tombstone carved with a Tuluth inscription
Western India, Gujarat, Cambay: Salkh jumada al-awwal 699 H = February 22, 1300
H: 73.1; W: 36.8 cm
Gujarat was known for its white marble, and finely carved stone was exported from the harbor city of Cambay all the way to the west coast of Africa, southern Arabia, and Java. The marble was used locally for architectural elements and tombstones like this one, erected to a member of the al-Bammi family who probably belonged to the prosperous merchant class in Cambay.
The inscription, from sura 3 (along the edge) and sura 86 of the Koran, was carved in an impressive Tuluth script. At the top is a motif that is beloved throughout the Islamic world, a lamp in a niche, but here it was designed in a way typically used on marble work from Gujarat. The niche is flanked by architectural elements and half trees that reflect the influence of local Jain and Hindu art.
Inv. no. 18/2015