Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
South Asia, Room 41

Standard

17th century (made)
Place Of Origin

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.
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object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Perforated gilt copper
Brief Description
Standard (Alam) in the shape of a calligraphic falcon, perforated gilt copper, Mughal, probably 17th century.
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'.
Dimensions
  • Height: 33cm
  • Width: 20.3cm
Style
Gallery Label
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)
Object history
Bought from the Hungarian dealer Imre Schwaiger, a resident of Delhi, in 1913 for £8.
Subjects depicted
Summary
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.
Bibliographic Reference
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
Other Number
21 (Islamic Calligraphy exhibition, 1987) - Exhibition number
Collection
Accession Number
IM.163-1913

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record createdJune 26, 2008
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