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HOME : Islamic Art : AS Collection 4 : Bronze Ewer with Pomegranate Finial
Bronze Ewer with Pomegranate Finial - JB.1231
Origin: Central Asia
Circa: 9 th Century AD to 10 th Century AD
Dimensions: 12.2" (31.0cm) high x 5.7" (14.5cm) wide
Collection: Islamic
Medium: Bronze
Condition: Extra Fine


Additional Information: AS

Location: Great Britain
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Description
Cast, bronze ewer with incised decoration; rounded flaring sides rise up from splayed foot-ring through broad, flattened shoulder to collared, funnel neck with flat, everted rim; undulated handle, ribbed for grip, flanked by tangs and surmounted by pomegranate finial acting as thumb rest; motif of trefoils and split-palmettes to top and bottom of neck. Intact with a superb, glossy, light green patina over whole. An early example of a small group of ewers with pomegranate finials dating to between 9th-11th centuries. The Barakat Collection includes five examples of this ware, which share their very distinct shape yet differ in size and decoration. This particular piece stands apart on account of its singular decoration and patina. The shape of the vessel and pomegranate finial owe to Persian metalwork and were appropriated by Islam after the fall of the Sassanian Empire in AD 651. The pomegranate is a recurrent theme of interest throughout history and actually prototypes in the ancient civilisations of Mesopotamia, Phoenicia and Egypt. The trefoil – three-leaved plant – however was conceived as a Christian symbol and is likely to have been transmitted to Islam by Late Antique and Byzantine sources in the west. Perhaps a Christian patron commissioned this ewer. For centuries, the Silk Road had brought Muslim lands into contact with the peoples of Europe, India and China. In art, we see influence across a vast area and the existing metalwork tradition enriched by new forms and techniques. Metal objects were the most important items of equipment among the middle classes in Muslim society and any discerning household would have had a retinue of everyday metalwork objects. Precious metals were costly and in all circumstances demanded great knowledge and skill to work. A charming piece with an unusual aesthetic that enunciates the spread of new influences throughout the empire and the adaptation of existing traditions to keep up with demand for luxury objects. Would most likely have been used to store and pour wine and other drinks. A similar example dated 11th-12th century from Iran is currently on display in Gallery 451 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Cf. Islamic Art/The David Collection, Folsach (Copenhagen 1990), P.186, no.302; Bonhams, Islamic and Indian Art, 9th October 2009, lot 105 and 7th October 2010, lot 91. - (JB.1231)

 

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