Inscription Probably Egypt, 9th or 10th century CE (3rd or 4th century AH) Carved marble Birmingham Museums Trust (2005.4779) ©Birmingham Museums Trust

Inscription
Probably Egypt, 9th or 10th century CE (3rd or 4th century AH)
Carved marble
Birmingham Museums Trust (2005.4779)
©Birmingham Museums Trust

The carved inscription on this stone fragment uses an angular script employed in Egypt during the 9th and 10th centuries. Although difficult to decipher it includes the Arabic word for ‘death’, suggesting that the object could have functioned as a tombstone. The simplicity of the stone and its inscription certainly conforms to burial practice in the first centuries of Islam. Tombstones of comparable date and provenance often record the name of the individual and Qur’anic verses identify the deceased as a Muslim.


Halima Cassell Calliope, 2011 CE Carved marble Birmingham Museums Trust (2013.0048) ©Halima Cassell/ Photo ©Birmingham Museums Trust

Halima Cassell
Calliope, 2011 CE
Carved marble
Birmingham Museums Trust (2013.0048)
©Halima Cassell/ Photo ©Birmingham Museums Trust

The flow of the lines in this contemporary sculpture recalls letters of the Arabic alphabet and reflects the influence of Islamic art and architecture in the work of Halima Cassell. This piece speaks of a multicultural British identity, and draws inspiration not only from the artist’s Asian heritage but also from influences closer to home, in this case Italian sculpture.