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Bowl - Bowl (tas)

Bowl (tas)

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Samarkand (probably, made)

  • Date:

    1100-1200 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Brass, raised and turned with engraved champlevé designs, inlaid with copper and filled with black composition.

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

The bowl has a narrow bottom, very slightly concave sides rising at a 45' angle which abruptly bend inwards, then finish in an everted rim with a flat upper edge.

The engraved decoration is arranged hrizontally in concentric bands.
On the upper edge six horizontal cartouches with incurving sides enclose foliate scrolls. They are spaced by roundels inlaid with copper discs.

On the walls of the bowl an epigraphic frieze on a scrolling foliate ground is framed top and bottom by plain ribbons which form circular loops at regular intervals. Within these loops are 'stars of Solomon' are inlaid with copper on a hatched ground. The frieze is flanked above by a narrow band of foliate scrolls and below by a band of guilloche.

Beneath the guilloche band is a border with animal motifs, framed and spaced with loops like the epigraphic frieze. Within the loops are copper-inlaid rossettes. The animal frieze is on a scolling foliate ground. There are six sections each holding one figure walking to the left:
1. a wolf or fox sniffing the ground
2. a feline
3. a hound
4. a hare
5. another hare
6. a feline looking back at the latter, holding its right paw in the air.

In the central roundel on the underside a woman-headed bird with upturned tail stands on a scrolling ground.

Inside the bowl an epigraphic band, followed by a plain band, encloses a roundel. Within this roundel a woman-headed winged lioness is in left profile, left paw raised.

Patina: some patches of red oxide, otherwise mostly cleaned off. An abrasive product used (prior to acquisition by the museum) to clean the inside, leaving white traces in all the narrow grooves of the inner design.

Place of Origin

Samarkand (probably, made)


1100-1200 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Brass, raised and turned with engraved champlevé designs, inlaid with copper and filled with black composition.

Marks and inscriptions

With bliss and good fortune, with bliss and good fortune, with godliness and godliness A-L, and good fortune and good fortune A!
Persian; inside of the bowl, the inner epigraphic band.; engraved


Height: 12.4 cm average, Diameter: 27.35 - 27.6 cm of opening

Object history note

Bought for £37 from Mr M Tahtadjian of Batoum (Georgia) through Henry-René D'Allemagne, 5 May 1899.
Reputed to have been found on the site of Afrasiyab in old Samarkand.
Inter-departmental transfer to MES, RF 2011/1170.
Historical significance: A bowl of related shape found on the borderland separating Eastern Khorasan from Southern Badakhshan in Afghanistan.

Descriptive line

Bowl, brass, engraved decoration with copper inlay, eastern Iran, possibly modern Uzbekistan, 1100-1200

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

Melikian-Chirvani, A.S. Islamic Metalwork from the Iranian World, London:HMSO, 1982, p92-93, ISBN 0 11 290252 9
Melikian-Chirvani, A.S. Le Bronze Iranien, p32-3
No.106, p. 143
L'Etrange et le Merveilleux en terres d'Islam, Paris : Editions de la Réunion des Musée Nationaux, 2001

Labels and date

Engraved brass inlaid with copper.
From the ruins of Aphrosiab (?). [Used until 10/2002]

Production Note

Attribution place formerly known as Mavera al-Nahr




Engraved; Inlaid

Subjects depicted

Hare; Fox; Hound; Feline




Middle East Section

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