Finial of the Mahdī’s qubba



Finial of the Mahdī’s qubba


Creator Unrecorded


death; Sudan; memorials; campaign mementoes; gifts


Large brass finial from the Mahdī’s domed tomb, or qubba. The dome was destroyed in late 1898 by gunboat fire from Gen. Kitchener's small Nile fleet. After the removal of the Mahdī’s body and its disposal in the Nile, the tomb was left in a badly damaged condition until reconstruction began in 1947, under the auspices of the Mahdī’s son, al-sayyid ʿAbd-al-Raḥman al-Mahdī, a successful businessman and important community leader. Photographs of the ruined qubba from 1898 show finials still in situ on the four corners of the tomb complex - and at least two of these survived well into the 20th Century. One is still displayed in the open air at the newly-restored Beit Khalifa Museum in Omdurman. A second was mounted on the clock tower at Blair Castle in Scotland but was destroyed in a fire in 2011. A small brass plaque at the base of the rebuilt clock tower states that the finial (now replaced by a replica) was "taken by Major the Marquis of Tullibardine [eldest son of the Duke of Atholl] Egyptian Cavalry after the Battle of Omdurman, from the N.E. corner tower of the Mahdi's tomb" in September 1898. The finial in this display was presented in February 1904 to HRH Princess Beatrice, wife of Prince Henry of Battenburg, by Colonel Drage of the Royal Artillery on the occasion of her visit to Khartoum. Before arriving at the REM, it was on display at the National Army Museum. [FHM 25/09/2019, FN/ON 12/01/2021]


Making African Connections




Height 1904mm; Depth 100mm; Width 280mm; Width 130mm


GR 198


The Royal Collection © 2020 Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

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Title Alternate label Class
MAHDI'S TOMB Physical Object
railing Physical Object
Visit to the Tomb of the Mahdi (2020) Event
Photographs of the Governor's Palace in Khartoum and the Mahdi's tomb in Omdurman (September, 1898) Text