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MTW 924
MTW 924

Hemispherical Basin

MTW 924

Greater Iran, Khurasan or Afghanistan

11th or 12th century AD

MTW 924
MTW 924, detail of interior
MTW 924, exterior

Hemispherical Basin

MTW 924

Greater Iran, Khurasan or Afghanistan

11th or 12th century AD

high-tin bronze, cast and engraved

21.3 x 50.5cm

Unlike many vessels made using the expensive high-tin bronze  alloy, which mostly bear ring and dot or chip-cut decoration, the engraved decoration on the interior of this basin is elaborately figural. In the centre, two figures sit cross-legged on a low throne with lions’ or gryphons’ paws. The figures wear stylised Sasanian crowns and their heads are surrounded by almond-shaped haloes. Each is holding a rounded cup, apparently containing a flame. The ground is densely ring-matted. Around this composition is a bold frieze of warriors, each with a pair of lances, one of which bears a streamer, a Sasanian attribute of royalty. Their shields feature various emblems: a six- or seven-petalled rosette with two pips, Sasanian royal streamers and seven circles. At the rim is a benedictory Kufic inscription which, unusually, combines Arabic and Persian: ‘Everlasting joy and happiness in the drinking of the purple (wine)! Divine favour on your life. Consummate blessing, and perpetual grace, and well-being, and happiness, and ...’ The exterior also bears a benedictory Kufic inscription.

J.M. Rogers, The Arts of Islam. Masterpieces from the Khalili Collection, London 2010, cat.20, p.44.