The objects in this section come from the surveys and the excavations of the Islamic sites in Ghazni and from the Afghan Museums. They were documented in the 1950s-1970s and 2002 to present.

All information is based on the archives of the Italian Archaeological Mission in Afghanistan (former IsIAO archives) and on recent researches. 62,000 objects from Islamic Ghazni are documented:

  • elements of architectural decoration (marbles, alabasters, baked bricks, plaster, ceramic tiles, glass, wood)
  • marble cenotaphs and stelae
  • pottery, metalwork, glass
  • coins.

These objects will be available online at different stages, following ongoing research.

Marbles and alabasters

The first group of materials made available online are marbles and alabasters, a highlight and specific feature of the artistic production in Ghazni since the beginning of the Ghaznavid period (see Giunta and Rugiadi in bibliography).

Marbles and alabasters were documented by the Italian Archaeological Mission during:

  • excavations of the Ghaznavid palace and the house of lustre-wares
  • reinforcement of the minaret of Bahram Shah
  • surveys of the cemeteries
  • surveys of mosques and mausoleums and modern buildings (where ancient objects were re-employed).

Also included are marbles and alabasters from:

  • the collections of the Kabul National Museum and the antiquarium in Rawza (Ghazni, then Rawza Islamic Museum) in the 1950s and 1960s
  • the Kabul National Museum’s and Ghazni’s storerooms since 2002.

    Location of the objects

    In 1978, before the interruption of the activities of the Mission, the objects were kept in: 

    • Ghazni, Rawza Islamic Museum
    • Kabul National Museum
    • Rome, IsIAO and Museo Nazionale d'Arte Orientale (1966 agreement signed with the Afghan authorities).

    No missing object from the Afghan Museums was reported up to that period. Since the resume of the works in Afghanistan in 2002, the Italian Archaeological Mission has been assessing the current location of the objects from Ghazni. Not all the objects previously known (as a result of the activities from 1957 to 1978) were found during the inventorying of the storages in Afghanistan, at Ghazni and at the Kabul Museum. Some are now in private and public collections, others are still missing. 

    The current location of the objects is provided when available.

    How to browse

    Objects are grouped in categories based on their function and/or form; further grouping follows their decoration. Please note that this is a simplified version of the classification followed in Rugiadi Decorazione architettonica 2012 (see bibliography) and that type numbers may not be consequential. 

    A short definition, and information on the retrieval of the objects is provided for each group and type. For detailed information and all photos, drawings, connections, and hypothetical reconstructions, see the objects.

    Browse marbles and alabasters