India, the Deccan
high-tin bronze, cast, turned and engraved
17.1 x 45.2cm
The bowl is decorated with four groups of cartouches of various shapes radiating from a central eight-petalled rosette. These are variously inscribed with finely written Qur’anic verses and surahs, invocations of the ‘Ninety-Nine Names of God’, prayers imploring protection against ‘every devil’ and ‘magic’ squares, some of them talismans with words and letters, and some conventionally arithmetical. Unlike many other magic bowls, however, the diseases or ills against which these spells or prayers are directed are not specified.
F. Maddison & E. Savage-Smith, Science, Tools & Magic, The Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art, volume XII, Part One, London 1997, cat.32, pp.93–5. J.M. Rogers, The Arts of Islam. Masterpieces from the Khalili Collection, London 2010, cat.347, p.293.