Marble column capital
Museum no. A.10-1922
A characteristic of Islamic art in Spain was the influence of Roman ornament. When the Muslims arrived in the early 8th century, the landscape was littered with Roman ruins, and the Umayyads reused many marble columns and capitals in the monuments they erected, especially in the Great Mosque of Córdoba. In the 10th century, marble was carved afresh, due to the huge number of construction projects undertaken by the caliphs. Gradually new styles emerged, but some examples like this one continued to copy Roman forms. This composite capital looks entirely Roman, but the Arabic inscription in kufic script along its top edge indicates its Islamic origins.