eastern Iran or northern India
late 12th or early 13th century AD
copper alloy, cast, pierced and engraved
19.5 x 16 x 9cm
The elephant’s head is hinged, giving access to the coal box, which is simply its belly. The construction and pierced decoration are rather different from the animal-shaped incense burners of pre-Mongol Iran, and, like the Indian theme of its decoration, may suggest that it was made in one of the sultanate states of northern India.
J.M. Rogers, The Arts of Islam. Masterpieces from the Khalili Collection, London 2010, cat.99, p.95.