Every month a different piece selected from the permanent collection of the museum of the Alhambra is shown.
April’s museum piece of the month is the scalloped Nasrid fountain basin of Santa María de la Alhambra. Every Saturday in April, from 12.00 noon onwards, as part of this free programme, restorer Isabel Cambil will reveal the peculiarities of this interesting piece in Room IV of the Museum of the Alhambra.
The fountain basin gets its name from the chapel where it was situated until recently. The chapel of Santa María de la Alhambra was built over the floor of the main mosque of the Alhambra, built by Sultan Muhammad III. Incorporated into the chapel, it was then used as a baptismal font.
The fountain basin is sculpted from one large block of fine white marble with pink and ochre veins. It is 48.5 cm high and has a diameter of 127 cm. Six round lobes alternate with six pointed lobes all around the body of the font, from the base to the rim, which is perfectly level and which maintains the same thickness as the body.
Marks of earlier restoration efforts are visible both inside and out – older ones in varying types of white marble and newer ones following modern restoration criteria. In addition to the normal wear and tear, there is also a long crack along the centre of the bowl.
In the mid-20th century, it was included in the collection of the former Hispano-Muslim Museum. For the past few months it has been on show in the centre of Room IV of the Museum of the Alhambra, in the space formerly occupied by one of the lions from the fountain of the palace of Riyad (palace of the Lions).