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  • Place of origin:

    India (made)

  • Date:

    17th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Perforated gilt copper

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    South Asia, Room 41, case 22

This standard, or alam, would have been used in religious processions and is made of perforated gilt copper. The ornamental calligraphy arranged within a frame in the form of a bird of prey is the Shia Muslim prayer, the Nad-i cAli, or 'Call to Ali', praising the son-in-law of the Prophet. The standard is thought to have been made in Delhi in the 17th century and was bought by the museum in 1913 from Imre Schwaiger, the famous Hungarian dealer who lived in that city, for £8.

Physical description

The alam is made of perforated gilt copper, its Arabic calligraphy enclosed within a frame in the shape of a bird of prey.

The letters are those of the Shia Muslim prayer, the Nadi cAli, or 'Call to Ali'.

Place of Origin

India (made)


17th century (made)



Materials and Techniques

Perforated gilt copper


Height: 33 cm, Width: 20.3 cm

Object history note

Bought from the Hungarian dealer Imre Schwaiger, a resident of Delhi, in 1913 for £8.

Descriptive line

Standard (Alam) in the shape of a calligraphic falcon, perforated gilt copper, Mughal, probably 17th century.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Mark Zebrowski, Gold, Silver & Bronze from Mughal India, Alexandria Press in association with Laurence King, London 1997, pl. 485 p. 289
Power and Protection: Islamic Art and the Supernatural. Ed. Francesca Leoni. Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford. Catalogue of the exhibition held at the Ashmolean Museum, 20 October 2016 - 15 January 2017. pp.63, 76

Labels and date

STANDARD (ALAM) IN THE FORM OF A CALLIGRAPHIC BIRD: Gilt copper, perforated. Mughal or Deccan, 17th century.

This falcon resting on a perch is formed from the letter of a Shia Muslim prayer, the Nadi cAli, or 'Call to Ali'. [Nehru Gallery: 2001]


Copper; Gilt



Subjects depicted

Calligraphy; Bird of prey


Ceremonial objects; Religion


South & South East Asia Collection

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