• Cauldron

    Technique:
    cast, forged and decorated with inlay
    Dimensions:
    h. 18,5 cm

Cauldron

Iran, 12th - early 13th century

This bronze (or brass) vessel richly inlaid with silver and copper is one of the most famous creations of Iran's coppersmiths. It became known as the "Bobrinsky cauldron" after Count Alexei Bobrinsky, its first owner in Russia. The piece became famous due to the important historical information contained in the words of well-wishing that it bears. These Arabic inscriptions (with elements of Persian) are written in the Naskhi script. The handle, which has figures of lions at the ends, carries the date - the month of Muharram in year 559 of the Hegira, which corresponds to December 1163 in the Christian calendar. The main inscription runs around the rim of the cauldron: "This work was ordered by Abd ar-Rakhman ibn Abdullah ar-Rashidi. It was chased by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Vahid. The work of Hajji Mas'ud ibn Ahmad an-naqqash. Herat. To the owner of this [object], the excellent hajji Rukn ad-Din, the glory of merchants, trusty of Muslims, adornment of the Hajj and both holy places [Mecca and Medina] Rashid ad-Din Azizi ibn Abu-l-Husein ad-Zenjani, may his fame endure! " The body of the vessel carries three more bands of Arabic good-wishing inscriptions in the Naskhi and Kufic scripts. The inscription around the rim indicates that this richly decorated cauldron was made by two craftsmen, one of whom probably did the casting, the other the inlay work (as is suggested by his by-name "an-naqqash" - "the artist"). It also tells us where it was made - Herat in north-east Iran. It is astonishing that such an outstanding object was created not for the ruling sultan, but for a merchant who played a significant role in Herat's Muslim community. Sadly, up to now no information about these men has been uncovered. This remarkable work was intended for use as a small wash-tub in baths. Its décor in all probability stressed Rukn ad-Din's importance among the urban élite of Herat.

Title:

Cauldron

Place of creation:

School:

Technique:

cast, forged and decorated with inlay

Dimensions:

h. 18,5 cm

Acquisition date:

Entered the Hermitage in 1925; transferred from the State Academy of the History of Material Culture; previoulsy in the former collection of A.A. Bobrinsky

Inventory Number:

ИР-2268

Category:

Collection:

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