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Inkwell (davat)

Inkwell
1150-1225 (cast)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

Circular flat base, slightly tapering walls terminating in a narrow rib and a short, recessed rim which projects over the well, to hold the now missing cover. The body has two trilobed attachment plates riveted with copper nails. One of these has retained a ring in the shape of a palmette. Although ancient, it may not be original to the piece. Beneath each attachment plate is an epigraphic section in a horizontal fillet with incurving sides.

The body is engraved with three niches, each with cusped upper arches and waisted jambs. Each frames a seated figure set against a scrolling foliate ground:

1. a seated musician, wearing a turban with two bands of cloth, his head framed by a halo of glory. Seated three-quarters to the right, in his right hand he holds an unindentified musical instrument.
2. a cross-legged scribe, also tubanned and haloed, seated facing the spectator, writing with a pointed reed on a wooden tablet that is inscribed, 'for the teacher'.
3. a kneeling figure turned in the direction of the scribe but looking out at the spectator, holds out a rectangular object with a hole in the centre. He/she wears a cap whch is surrounded by the halo of glory.

Pairs of roundels flank each niche.

On the underside of the base, three sections of a plaited motif are enclosed by cartouches with double framing fillets. There is a hole at the centre.

On the inner projecting rim 15 arches have been engraved with dividers.

Patina: blackish with olive undertones, removed by acid cleaning over decorated areas.


Object details
Category
Object type
Materials and techniques
Cast bronze, engraved with champlevé decoration and filled with black composition.
Brief description
Cast bronze, engraved with champlevé designs filled with black composition.
Physical description
Circular flat base, slightly tapering walls terminating in a narrow rib and a short, recessed rim which projects over the well, to hold the now missing cover. The body has two trilobed attachment plates riveted with copper nails. One of these has retained a ring in the shape of a palmette. Although ancient, it may not be original to the piece. Beneath each attachment plate is an epigraphic section in a horizontal fillet with incurving sides.



The body is engraved with three niches, each with cusped upper arches and waisted jambs. Each frames a seated figure set against a scrolling foliate ground:



1. a seated musician, wearing a turban with two bands of cloth, his head framed by a halo of glory. Seated three-quarters to the right, in his right hand he holds an unindentified musical instrument.

2. a cross-legged scribe, also tubanned and haloed, seated facing the spectator, writing with a pointed reed on a wooden tablet that is inscribed, 'for the teacher'.

3. a kneeling figure turned in the direction of the scribe but looking out at the spectator, holds out a rectangular object with a hole in the centre. He/she wears a cap whch is surrounded by the halo of glory.



Pairs of roundels flank each niche.



On the underside of the base, three sections of a plaited motif are enclosed by cartouches with double framing fillets. There is a hole at the centre.



On the inner projecting rim 15 arches have been engraved with dividers.



Patina: blackish with olive undertones, removed by acid cleaning over decorated areas.
Dimensions
  • Height: 5.6 - 5.8cm
  • Of moulding level diameter: 7.35 - 7.4cm
  • Of underside diameter: 7.5 - 7.6cm
Style
Marks and inscriptions
  • (Persian; naskhi; words written in the depiction of a wooden tablet by the seated scribe; engraved)
  • (kufic; inner rim)
Object history
Purchased for £195 from Mr Said Motamed, Frankfurt, 29 July 1969
Subjects depicted
Bibliographic reference
Melikian-Chirvani, A.S. Islamic Metalwork from the Iranian World, London:HMSO, 1982, p124, ISBN 0 11 290252 9
Collection
Accession number
M.86-1969

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Record createdMarch 18, 2003
Record URL
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