Incised Bronze Bowl

SKU JB.1262

11th Century AD to 13th Century AD


6.9″ (17.5cm) high x 15.7″ (39.9cm) wide




Central Asia

Gallery Location



Large semi-spherical bronze bowl-shaped basin with concave walls, incurving rim and rounded bottom, engraved decoration covering both the interior as well as its complete external circumference. On the tondo four bird-like creatures, in profile to the right, with the body of a bird and a type of head not pertinent to any of the known avian species, probably a mythical figure created in the fantasy and through the visual manipulation of existing fauna forms by an artist. The remaining internal surface is divided into three registers, two with Kufic inscriptions divided by a continuous frieze of stylised decorative motifs. On the exterior, the curved bottom is decorated by what is today commonly known as The Star of David, a zone of floral patterns interspaced at regular intervals by six large tear-shaped components; register containing Kufic inscription on the upper part. A spectacular piece of metalwork, our bowl- shaped basin follows the shape of smaller size bowls, appearing very elegant in shape though it seems structurally unstable. Ewers and basins were in a continuous daily use and demand, always brought for hand-washing before and after each meal. Large basins such as this one were among the most prestigious of the incised brass vessels produced, often lavishly treated as prominent display pieces and were thus used for a number of ceremonial functions. Contemporary historians also describe them being also employed to collect money or gifts at weddings and other festivities.

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