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Money vessel

Money vessel

  • Place of origin:

    Iran (made)

  • Date:

    1275-1325 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    brass, cast and welded, inlaid, engraved and decorated with champleve designs

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

Brass cast vessel with nine facets on flared foot. Brass cast in two, bottom disk welded. Decorated with champleve designs engraved and inlaid with silver and gold, the ground inlaid with black composition. Design on main body featuresa frieze of alternating cusped quatrafoils and roundels at the top. The quatrafoils enclose confronted birds shown sideways flapping their wings. Below this are a series of polylobed medallions, one on each facet, enclosing a lotus flower and clover leaves against a background of joining wheels with spokes. The foot is decorated with eighteen lotus buds pointed upwards and below a separate epigraphic band.

Place of Origin

Iran (made)


1275-1325 (made)


Unknown (made)

Materials and Techniques

brass, cast and welded, inlaid, engraved and decorated with champleve designs

Marks and inscriptions

repeates the two letters 'lam-lam,' horizontal strokes linking the vertical hastae
Tall naskhi nearing thuluth. This type of inscription is linked to esoteric speculations on letter symbolism.


Height: 17 cm, Diameter: 9.3 cm foot, Diameter: 14 cm maximum

Object history note

Bought from the collection of Gaston de Saint-Maurice (1831-1905) in 1884. Saint-Maurice displayed his extensive art collection at the 1878 Paris exhibition, in a gallery entitled L'Egypte des Khalifes. This was part of an official sequence of displays celebrating the history of Egypt, presented by the Egyptian state at this international event. Saint-Maurice held a position at the Khedival court, and had lived in Cairo in 1868-1878. Following the exhibition, Saint-Maurice offered his collection for sale to the South Kensington Museum (today the V&A).

Historical context note

Two pieces of identical shape and closely related decoration are in the Musee des Beaux Arts, Lyons and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. A specimen of a similar shape on a foot-ring in Tehran, has a hinged lid.The model may be regarded as a development of the basic shape of the Khorasan ewer of the late 12th century or its later 13th century offshoot.

Descriptive line

Footed vessel with nine facets, cast brass with engraved decoration and traces of silver inlay, western Iran, 1290-1310

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

Melekian-Chirvani, Islamic Metalwork from the Iranian World 8-18th centuries, 1982, no. 87.


Brass; Gold; Silver


Welding; Casting; Inlay; Engraving; Champleve




Middle East Section

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