Seljuk Bronze Bowl

SKU CK.0154

1037 AD to 1157 AD


7.5″ (19.1cm) high x 7.5″ (19.1cm) wide x 1″ (2.5cm) depth




Central Asia

Gallery Location



The Seljuks were a Turkic dynasty of Central Asian nomadic origins. Having defeated the Ghaznavids in the eleventh century they took over Baghdad in 1055 A.D. At one point the empire stretched across Iran, Iraq and much of Anatolia. By the end of the eleventh century however dynastic disputes led to the division of these lands. The main branch- the so-called Great Seljuks- maintained control over Iran. This was a golden age for Islamic art typified by innovation and experimentation. In metalwork one of the most important developments was the practice of inlaying bronze or brass objects with precious metals such as copper, silver or gold. Bronze casting flourished and famous workshops were established in Khorasan and the surrounding area.

A central medallion decorating this shallow bowl contains the image of a mythological winged creature, possibly a griffin or Al-Buraq, the winged steed that carried Muhammed on his Night Journey. This central medallion is surrounded by four smaller circles located at the cardinal points with blocks of text. This motif is in turn repeated on the outer rim of the vessel, albeit here with six circles instead of four.

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