late 12th or early 13th century AD
copper alloy, cast, with engraved and openwork decoration
27 x 27 x 8.7cm
The lynx seems to be pawing the ground, as if about to jump up and catch its prey on the wing, as is the habit of lynxes. The impracticality of using the tail as a handle and the inconvenience of replenishing the incense when it was full of hot coals make it more probable that this vessel was a pomander, filled with a paste of ambergris and spices to scent the air, and only requiring occasional refilling.
J.M. Rogers, The Arts of Islam. Masterpieces from the Khalili Collection, London 2010, cat.98, pp.94–5.