late 12th or early 13th century AD
brass or quaternary copper alloy, piece cast, engraved, ringmatted and inlaid with silver, copper and a black compound
36.5 x 24cm
The slightly tapering body is decorated with bands of inscription and medallions enclosing the signs of the zodiac (represented conventionally, except for Sagittarius, which is shown as a harpy) in groups of three. The inscriptions are all benedictory, praying for blessings upon an unnamed owner. At the centre of the lid is a handsome finial in the form of a bulbous pointed dome, surmounted by a stylised Buddhist lotus and a hawk or a dove.
J.M. Rogers, The Arts of Islam. Masterpieces from the Khalili Collection, London 2010, cat.104, p.97.