10th century AD or earlier
copper alloy, probably bronze, pierced and with engraved decoration
14 x 11cm
Although made as a standing vessel, this incense burner has no handle, and a ring at the apex shows that it was intended to be swung. It is thus midway between pre-Islamic and Islamic types of incense burner, the former deriving from early Christian thuribles in 5th- to 6th-century Syria and Egypt, and the latter from standing vessels in Hellenistic and Sasanian Iran. The pierced decoration of the cover also derives from Late Antiquity. Interestingly, the feet show no influence from the characteristic lions’-paw feet of Coptic Egypt and Umayyad Syria.
J.M. Rogers, The Arts of Islam. Masterpieces from the Khalili Collection, London 2010, cat.89, p.88.