An important and large Ghaznavid figural high tin bronze Cauldron  Persia, 11th Century
Lot 90
An important and large Ghaznavid figural high tin bronze Cauldron Persia, 11th Century
Sold for £86,400 (US$ 145,222) inc. premium
Auction Details
An important and large Ghaznavid figural high tin bronze Cauldron  Persia, 11th Century
Lot Details
An important and large Ghaznavid figural high tin bronze Cauldron
Persia, 11th Century
of hemispherical form, the interior incised with a central seated figure of a ruler flanked by armed warrior to either side, the sides with a bold frieze comprising three groups of warriors, each with a pair of lances, one of which bears a streamer, their shields variously with rosettes and circles, each of the groups of warriors separated by a mounted ruler with a halo, a pair of mounted warriors and a caparisoned horse, around the rim a band of floriated kufic inscription; the exterior with a central six-pointed star filled with palmettes, above a band of paired panels of kufic and the rim with a wide band of palmette vine
57.4cm. diam.

Footnotes

  • Around the inner rim, in Arabic and Persian:

    'baraka tamma wa ni'ma da'ima wa salama wa sa'ada wa ni'ma wa baqa ...bad ni'ma bad bar zendegani'

    'Perfect Blessing and Perpetual [God's] Grace and Well-being and Happiness and [God's] Grace and Long-life .... May .... be .... May [God's] Grace be on [your] life'

    In the exterior wall panels, repetition of:

    'tawakkul takfa'

    'Trust [in God] is sufficient'

    Elaborate figural decoration on Ghaznavid high tin bronze vessels is quite rare, with the majority of decorative schemes restricted to geometric designs, dots and inscriptions. The present lot belongs to a small group of such vessels, which draw inspiration from earlier Sasanian wares, with the addition of kufic inscriptions. A notable example of the type can be found in the Nasser D. Khalili Collection (J.M. Rogers, The Arts of Islam, Exhibition Catalogue, Sydney, 2007, p. 40, no. 15); another was offered at Christie's (Islamic Art and Manuscripts, 12th October 2004, lot 150); a smaller bowl sold through these rooms depicts a seated ruler (Bonhams, Islamic and Indian Art, 24 April, 2002, lot 308) and another vessel is mentioned by Richard Ettinghausen ("Interaction and integration in Islamic Art", Islamic Art and Archaeology Collected Papers, Berlin, 1985, pp. 51-87, pl/ 63, fig. a).

    In the present lot, the central seated figure wears a stylised Sasanian crown with a halo around his head. The infantry and mounted figures bear Sasanian streamers, symbols of kingship, from their helmets and horses, and share the same vigour found in depictions on pre-Islamic metalwork and stone carvings from Persia. The scale of the decoration and the size of the piece serve to enhance the impact of the depiction.

    The exact function of these large-scale vessels is not certain, but given the quantity of figural decoration, it is fair to assume they were for secular use. The Khalili cauldron is inscribed with benedictory verses in both Arabic and Persian in praise of drinking wine, suggesting that it might been a wine vessel for royal banquets.
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