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HOME : Islamic Art : AS Collection Consignment : Bronze Ewer with Fluted Body
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Bronze Ewer with Fluted Body - LO.642
Origin: Central Asia
Circa: 12 th Century AD to 13 th Century AD
Dimensions: 14.5" (36.8cm) high
Collection: Islamic art
Medium: Quarternary Bronze

Additional Information: AS

Location: Great Britain
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Large copper alloy ewer with fluted body, flattened shoulders, tall straight neck with curved spout, the strap handle with knobbed finial, a repousse' image of a lion on the sides of the neck. Such an image was almost entirely worked from the back using a tool known as a snarling iron.

The whole aim of the decoration was apparently to bring good luck to the owner of the vessel. The lion, as well as the little sculptural bird on the handle, probably symbolised strenght and good auspices, qualities traditionally ascribed to them in the local folklore.

In pre-Mongol Persia most fine objects were made of a cast copper alloy. Often vessels were made of high tin bronze (also called quarternary bronze- an alloy of copper and about 20 per cent tin). This alloy was known in early Islamic times as asfidroy, literally 'white copper' and was used for bowls, stem bowls, dishes, ewers and candlesticks. Amongst the particular properties of high tin bronze is that it can be red-hot forged, like iron, and if quenched, becomes reasonably malleable when cold. If permitted to cool slowly than hammered, it shatters. Three centres of quarternary bronze manufacture are recorded in Islamic texts of the 10th-11th centuries: Rabinjian near Bukhara, Hamadan in western Persia and Sistan province in eastern Persia. Transoxiana, i.e. Eastern Persia and Afghanistan, provided the inspiration for the Hamadan industry as well and kept on producing high-tin copper alloy vessels well into the 13th century, although with less originality than before.

This ewer, made in a number of different parts then soldered together, is one of a fairly large extant group, some of which are simply cylindrical in shape, having flat or concave faces, while others, like this example are fluted.

For a comparable example see Hayward Gallery, The Arts of Islam, 1976: pl.188, p.175. - (LO.642)


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