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HOME : Islamic Art : AS Collection 4 : Seljuk Dish with Engraved Decorations
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Seljuk Dish with Engraved Decorations - FZ.407
Origin: Middle East
Circa: 12 th Century AD to 13 th Century AD
Dimensions: 1.25" (3.2cm) high x 7" (17.8cm) wide
Collection: Islamic Art
Medium: Bronze

Additional Information: sold

Location: United States
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Although individual Turkish generals had already gained considerable, and at times decisive, power in Mesopotamia and Egypt during the tenth and eleventh centuries, the coming of the Seljuks signaled the first large-scale penetration of the Turkish elements into the Middle East. Descended from a tribal chief named Seljuk, whose homeland lay beyond the Oxus River near the Aral Sea, the Seljuks not only developed a highly effective fighting force but also, through their close contacts with Persian court life in Khorasan and Transoxania, attracted a body of able administrators. Extending from Central Asia to the Byzantine marches in Asia Minor, the Seljuks established a highly cohesive, well- administered state under the nominal authority of the Abbasid caliphs at Baghdad.

This bronze dish is an elegant testament to the mastery of the Seljuk artists, who were especially noted for their glazed tiles and pottery. This dish has been carefully engraved with decorations and texts along the inside, outside, and the rim. Even the bottom features a series of pairs of concentric circles radiating outward from the center. The texts feature Cufic inscriptions as decorative and pleasing to the eye as the abstract elements, if not more. These inscriptions are most likely prayers invoking the grace and glory of Allah. Perhaps these texts offered thanks for the contents that once filled this dish. Most striking is the central decoration of a mythological griffin-like creature featuring the body of a lion or other such quadruped with the wings and head of a bird, perhaps a peacock.
- (FZ.407)


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