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A SELJUK CARVED WHITE MARBLE TOMBSTONE
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A SELJUK CARVED WHITE MARBLE TOMBSTONE

YAZD, SOUTH EAST IRAN, DATED JUMADA II AH 516/AUGUST-SEPTEMBER 1122 AD

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A SELJUK CARVED WHITE MARBLE TOMBSTONE
Yazd, South East Iran, dated Jumada II AH 516/August-September 1122 AD
Of rectangular form, carved in sharp but relatively shallow relief with a band of strong kufic against a scrolling foliate ground around three sides, an upper band of naskh against a scrolling vine ground within, around a band of similarly decorated kufic but without the background, again around three sides, all enclosing the central rectangular panel with central nine-line kufic inscription below an arch filled with scrolling arabesques, the spandrels filled with similar arabesques terminating in trefoil leaves, very light encrustation, one corner missing, on stand
19¾ x 12½in. (55.2 x 31.7cm.)
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Lot Essay

The inscriptions are as follows:
Outer band: Qur'an, sura III, parts of v.185.
Inner band: Qur'an, sura XLI, v.30, omitting last verse.
The upper panel contains the shahada
The niche translates: This is the tomb of 'Ali Abu'l Hasan ibn 'Abi al-Fadl ibn Abu'l-Hasan al-Azhar who died in Jumada II, the year five hundred and twenty" (June-July 1126 AD).

A very similar carved tombstone made of unspecified stone, dated June 1141, is recorded by Pope in situ in Yazd (Pope, Arthur Upham: A Survey of Persian Art, Oxford, 1938, pl.519). The carving of the spandrels there is almost identical. That example however has an extra band of meandering leafy vine between the two main bands of inscription, has the innner of the two bands of naskh rather than the present kufic, and is signed by Ahmad b. Muhammad.
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