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HOME : Islamic Art : AS UAE : Islamic Bronze Water Jug
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Islamic Bronze Water Jug - FZ.395
Origin: Central Asia
Circa: 1200 AD to 1400 AD
Dimensions: 10.5" (26.7cm) high
Collection: Islamic Art
Medium: Bronze

Additional Information: AS

Location: UAE
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The art of metalwork has been one of the principal forms of artistic expression in the Islamic world. Responding to the taste and needs of different social and economic classes, artists continuously explored the technical and decorative potential of their materials to transform simple, functional objects into highly refined works of art.

In the late tenth century, metalworkers in eastern Iran began to manufacture brass and bronze objects inlaid with designs in gold, silver, and copper. This technique allowed metalworkers "to paint" their vessels with scenes of hunting and feasting—associated with courtly life—astrological signs, and bold calligraphic dedications to rulers. Although the art of inlay was already known in West Asia since at least the sixth century, it reached new levels of artistic and technical sophistication after the arrival of Islam. These vessels are among some of the most powerful expressions of the social, political, and cultural life and aspiration of the individuals and societies for which they were created.

Originally, the engraved decorations incised onto the exterior of this bronze vessel would have been inlaid with silver or gold. Clearly, this precious adornment would have made this jug even that much more resplendent. Perhaps the most charming feature of this container is the stylized bird molded onto the top of the pouring handle. With large, swooping tail and hooked beak, the forms of the bird itself are echoed by the graceful curve of the spout. Furthermore, several bangles dangle along the neck of the jug and the join of the handle and the body as if earrings or such elegant jewelry. This magnificent water jug served the most basic purpose in antiquity, however today it is treasured for its inherent beauty and timeless artistry alone.
- (FZ.395)


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