Artistic Handcraft - Bowl

White metal alloy, engraved
Size: Diameter: 55 cm
Origin and time: Mesopotamia or Iran, 13th Century
Catalogue: Schätze des Aga Khan Museum, AKTC
Inv. No. AKM 00607

An unusually big bowl with a nearly semispherical shape and a decoration on the outside divided into three parts, one above the other. The upper part, a small strip showing pacing animals is decorated with floral ornaments and Italic inscriptions. The part beneath is much broader and framed by cirri and border decorations. Where the borders merge a circle-round medallion, filled with different geometrical patterns, is formed. The parts between the medallions are filled with alternating Italic and Kufic inscriptions crowned with human heads. The lowest part shows a row of medallions with representations of the twelve zodiac signs. Remarkable is the Capricorn presented in its oldest form, the horned goat/sea-goat, which is a very rare representation on Khorasan metal work.

The production of Iranian white metal in the 12th and 13th centuries cannot be ascribed to a certain place. This bowl was recently published among other such objects displaying a similar decoration by the Iranian National Museum of Teheran.

On the upper part the Kufic inscription reads: eternal strength, growing prosperity, lasting power, noble peace, lasting luck, noble peace, lasting power, peace. 
On the part in the middle the Italic inscription reads: eternal strength, growing prosperity, lasting power, peace. And the Kufic inscription on the same part reads: eternal strength, entire life and growing prosperity. CJ