A Lead Seal In The Name Of Caliph ʿAbd Al-Malik Ibn Marwān, 65-86 AH / 685-705 CE

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First Composed: 31st March 2014

Last Updated: 2nd April 2014

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Assalamu ʿalaykum wa rahamatullahi wa barakatuhu:



(a) Reverse and (b) Obverse sides of the lead seal in the name of ʿAbd al-Malik b. Marwān.


65-86 AH / 685-705 CE.


The seal is made of lead. Diameter = 11.5 cm.; weight = 337 gms.


Reverse - Transcription:

Field (centre):

Filisṭīn (Palestine)

Obverse - Transcription:

Field (left and right):

  1. li-ʿabd Allāh (For servant of God)
  2. ʿAbd al-Malik (ʿAbd al-Malik)
  3. amīr al- (Commander of the)
  4. mu’minīn (Faithful)


lā-ilaha il-Allāh waḥdahu la sharīka lahu Muḥammad rasūl Allāh (There is no god but God, the one without partners, Muḥammad is the Messenger of God)


This is a remarkable and unique lead piece in the name of the Caliph ʿAbd al-Malik was either struck or cast in Palestine. It bears several interesting decorative elements, including addorsed lions and confronting birds.[1] It is not clear what is the purpose of it. The large ‘A’ in the center of the obverse is similar to the symbol for "one" (i.e., alpha) on Byzantine weights.[2] However, the author Artuk believes ‘A’ stands for ʿAbd al-Malik. On the obverse margin is the Islamic profession of faith. Grabar is of the opinion that this unique object may be earlier than the reformed coins. He also stresses the crucial points of the multiplicity of themes (Islamic and Byzantine in this case) and their levels of utilization which coexisted at anyone time.[3]


Istanbul Archaeology Museum, Istanbul (Turkey).

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[1] I. Artuk, "Emevılerden Halıfe Abdulmelık Bın Mervan Adina Kesılmış Eşsız Bır Kurşun Mühür", Türk Tarıh Kurumu Belleten, 1952, Volume 16, No. 6, pp. 21-25.

[2] G. C. Miles, "General", Numismatic Literature, 1952, Volume 18, p. 21.

[3] O. Grabar, The Formation Of Islamic Art, 1987, Revised and Enlarged Edition, Yale University Press: New Haven (USA) and London (UK), p. 91 and Figure 21.

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