A Timurid Vase
Lot 82
A rare and important Timurid tinned bronze Jug Samarqand, circa 1400-50
Sold for £37,250 (US$ 58,416) inc. premium

Lot Details
A rare and important Timurid tinned bronze Jug
Samarqand, circa 1400-50
with squat body, a ring leading to a cylindrical neck with everted short rim, the body incised with a a knotted frieze of scrolling arabesque-filled roundels with cursive inscriptions between, below a band of palmette vine, the shoulder with a narrow band of cursive inscription, the ring with further inscriptions within a knotted band, the neck with a wide cartouche of knotted kufic, the outside of the rim with cable-band, the flat area of the rim with further cursive inscription
17.5 cm. high

Footnotes

  • The inscriptions comprise:

    Around the shoulder: 'izz li-mawlana al-sultan al-a'zam al-akram al-'alim al-'amil al-'adil al-mu'ayyad qa'an al-zaman, "Glory to our lord, the most Great Sultan, the most Generous, the Learned, the Diligent, the Just, the one supported [by God], the Qa'an (King of kings) of the time"; and a worn inscription in a cartouche in the narrow lower band reads, a[mal] sha'ban bin 'umar ... ya rabb ghaffir dhunbi, "Work of (?) Sha'ban ibn 'Umar .... O Lord, forgive my sin".

    The above inscription, clear and well-spaced is abruptly turned into Persian verses in a smaller and more compact hand, as if it was no longer necessary to continue the text and mention the Sultan's full name. A few of the titles used are found in connection with Timur, and might suggest that this piece was made for him or a member of his dynasty seeking to emulate his example.

    A worn inscription in a cartouche in the narrow lower band, 'a[mal] (?) sha'ban bin 'umar ... ya rabb ghaffir dhunbi, 'Work of (?) Sha'ban bin 'Umar ...., O Lord, forgive my sin'.

    In the lobed roundel on the neck, a saying attributed to the Prophet, qala nabi 'alayha as-salam 'azza man qana'a wa zalla (sic)[dhalla] man tama'a, 'Prophet, peace be upon him said: Powerful is the one who is content and contemptible is he, who is greedy'.

    Apart from the above inscriptions in Arabic, there is a quatrain including a request for forgiveness by the truth of the family of the Messenger and mentioning 'Ali on the body. The remainder (on the rim, around the collar, on the shoulder, in the cartouches of the wide and the two narrow bands around the body) are all Persian verses, most of them mentioning the word ab, 'water'. The heavily knotted kufic inscription around the neck has not been deciphered. The closest comparison to this kufic is in A.S. Melikian-Chirvani, Islamic Metalwork from the Iranian World 8-18th centuries, London, 1982, p. 235, fig 60, which he attributes to second half of the 15th century; and T. W. Lentz and G. D. Lowry, Timur and Princely Vision: Persian Art and Culture in the Fifteenth Century,, 1989, p. 211, fig. 75, dated AH 839/AD 1435-36.

    For similar titles see, Linda Komaroff, The Golden Disc of Heaven, Metalwork of Timurid Iran, 1992, pp. 240, 242 and 247.

    For the reference to 'Ali during the first half of the 15th century, see T.W. Lentz and G. D. Lowry,Timur and Princely Vision, Persian Art and Culture in the Fifteenth Century, 1989, p. 28.

    For a similar shape (but with handle), see Lentz and Lowry, p. 144, fig. 46, with the name Shahrukh, c. 1420-49.
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