London, United Kingdom
Khalili Family Trust – Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art
AD 7th or early 8th century
Metalwork; ewer; niello; silver; gilding; beaten and worked in relief
Silver, beaten and worked in relief, with linear engraving enhanced by niello and traces of gilding
Sasanian / Umayyad
Iran or western Asia
The ewer has an ovoid body with a high pedestal foot and a pointed flat pouring spout. It does not retain its handle. The body is decorated with three oval medallions, the two on either side with a winged lion or a gryphon facing forward with a raised forepaw and a forked tongue, while the central one is decorated with a double-headed eagle. The space in between the medallions is filled with trefoil palmettes. The neck and the foot are enriched with a band of roundels containing quatrefoils. Achaemenid and Roman influences are notable respectively in the winged lion as a motif and in the niello decoration of the neck and foot. These elements demonstrate the multicultural influences on later Sasanian metalwork. However, a dating towards the beginning of the Islamic period is also possible since the heraldic poses of the eagles and gryphons may suggest a workshop in western Iran, Syria or even Constantinople.
Rogers, J.M., The Arts of Islam. Masterpieces from the Khalili Collection, London: Thames & Hudson, 2010: no.15, p.40.
Compiled by Roberta Marin "Tall ewer" in Explore Islamic Art Collections , Museum With No Frontiers, 2019. http://www.museumwnf.org/thematicgallery/thg_galleries/database_item.php?itemId=objects;EPM;uk;Mus21;4;en&id=gold_and_silver
Prepared by: Compiled by Roberta Marin
MWNF Working Number: UK1 04