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A GHAZNAVID ENGRAVED HIGH TIN BRONZE TRAY
A GHAZNAVID ENGRAVED HIGH TIN BRONZE TRAY

AFGHANISTAN, 11TH CENTURY

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A GHAZNAVID ENGRAVED HIGH TIN BRONZE TRAY
AFGHANISTAN, 11TH CENTURY
Of flat circular form with slightly inverted vertical sides, the centre engraved with a mounted warrior carrying a pennant and surrounded by four animals including a hare, a stylised scrolling floral motif above, all on a very lightly pounced ground, within a band of ornamental bendictory kufic between minor punched circle stripes, very slightly rubbed, reverse with traces of encrustation
17¼in. (44cm.) diam.

Lot Essay

Vessels made from a high-tin alloy were produced in Iran from the early Islamic period to the 12th century. Most are decorated with punched circles arranged in geometric formations; freely drawn designs are rare.

A 10th century bronze bowl is depicted in Pope. (A.U.: A Survey of Persian Art, Oxford 1938, pp.2482-3, fig.811). The interior shows a king on horseback holding a sword up over his head and looking back to what may be an animal behind his horse; there are numerous smaller animals around the feet of his horse. The exterior is inscribed in ornamental kufic with the name of the maker (or patron?) Abu Nasr Muhammad ibn Ahmad as-Sijzi (of Sistan). A similar bowl was sold in these Rooms and is now in the Art and History Trust Collection (Soudavar, Abolala: Art of the Persian Courts, New York, 1992, p.22). There the interior is engraved with a horseman as before but the ornamental kufic inscription (benedictory) forms a band around the interior rather than the exterior of the rim.

In the present example the drawing of the horse is very similar to that of the Christie's/Soudavar bowl mentioned above, although, as in the Pope example, small animals are incorporated around the main figure. Overall the drawing here is slightly less fluid than in the other two; this however gives it a more monumental quality

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