A fine large Khorasan bronze Incense Burner in the form of a Feline Khorasan, 12th Century
Lot 36
A fine large Khorasan bronze Incense Burner in the form of a Feline
Khorasan, 12th Century
£80,000 - 120,000
US$ 130,000 - 200,000
Auction Details
A fine large Khorasan bronze Incense Burner in the form of a Feline Khorasan, 12th Century A fine large Khorasan bronze Incense Burner in the form of a Feline Khorasan, 12th Century A fine large Khorasan bronze Incense Burner in the form of a Feline Khorasan, 12th Century A fine large Khorasan bronze Incense Burner in the form of a Feline Khorasan, 12th Century
Lot Details
A fine large Khorasan bronze Incense Burner in the form of a Feline
Khorasan, 12th Century
standing taut on all four with large hoof-shaped paws, with hinged neck, head with ridged nose and eyebrows, large openwork eyes, one eye set with opaque turquoise glass, with tail ending in a stylized palmette, the body and neck with openwork areas, pierced and engraved throughout with palmette scrolls
26 cm. high; 24 cm. long

Footnotes

  • This outstanding example of Persian metalwork is one of a small group of analogous incense burners of zoomorphic form produced in the northeastern region in the 12th Century.

    The incense burner found its way into Islamic culture through Byzantine influence and early Islamic incense burners bear a strong resemblance to Coptic examples. As Islamic metalwork production matured in the 11th Century, Persian ornamentation began to influence the production of incense burners of this type and the present piece is an exquisite example of this more ornate paradigm. Such objects were probably once part of the furnishings of rich urban residences.

    Rare and technically refined, the present burner is one of a small group of objects of zoomorphic form, of which feline and lynx-form examples are considered to be the finest examples. The largest and most prominent example of feline incense burners, standing at 84cm, is housed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art ( "The Jafar ibn Muhammad ibn Ali Incense burner" (51.56) in Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000, p. 151), which bears an inscription giving the patron's name, the artist's signature and the date of execution: it was wrought for the emir of Khorasan by Jafar ibn Muhammad ibn 'Ali in AH 577/ AD 1181-82. Turquoise glass inlaid eyes can be seen on other zoomorphic incense burners of the period, including a feline in the Louvre Museum, Paris (Sophie Markariou (Ed.), Islamic Art at the Musee du Louvre, Paris, 2012, pp. 111-13, acc. no. AA19) and support a Persian origin.

    The current piece bears a striking resemblance to an example in the Khalili Collection (see M.B. Pietrovsky et al.,Art of Islam: Heavenly Art, Earthly Beauty, Amsterdam, 1999, p. 228), the two lynxes are of similar size and have identical opening mechanisms, perforation, and anatomical structure.

    Lynxes were highly prized hunting animals, but also easy to tame and were also favoured as pets. Here, the head with its alert ears, stylized whiskers and broad grin is particularly well realised. For further discussion of zoomorphic incense burners, see E.Baer, Metalwork in Medieval Islamic Art, Albany, 1983, pp.57-60.
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