12th century AD
quaternary copper alloy, cast with openwork and finely engraved decoration
24.5 x 23 x 8.5cm
Lynxes were highly prized hunting animals and, as they were easily tamed, also favourite pets. Here the head, with its perked ears, almond-shaped eyes, flattened nose, moustache and toothy grin, is particularly well realised. The rich engraved decoration, all once inlaid with a black compound, includes two panels with Kufic benedictory inscriptions. This incense burner was filled through an opening in the chest, which houses a container for the glowing charcoal and grains of incense: to replenish it one merely withdrew the coal box.
J.M. Rogers, The Arts of Islam. Masterpieces from the Khalili Collection, London 2010, cat.100, p.95.