Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Mortar and pestle made for Abu Bakr 'Ali Malikzad al-Tabrizi

Object Name:
Mortar and pestle
late 12th–early 13th century
Attributed to Iran
Brass; cast, chased, engraved, and inlaid with silver and black compound
Mortar: 91.1.527a H. 4 1/2 in. (11.4 cm) Diam. 5 3/4 in. (14.6 cm) Pestle: 91.1.527b H. 10 1/2 in. (26.7 cm) Diam. 2 3/8 in. (6 cm)
Credit Line:
Edward C. Moore Collection, Bequest of Edward C. Moore, 1891
Accession Number:
91.1.527a, b
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 453
Two of the medallions on this mortar show Jauzahr, the fictitious eighth planet believed responsible for the eclipse of the sun and the moon. Although described in texts as a dragon monster, Jauzahr is depicted here as a seated figure flanked by snakes with dragon heads.
Inscription: Arabic, on borders and reverse of rim; translation: "Glory, Prosperity, Power, Happiness, Safety, Fortune, Generosity, Triumph, Forgiveness ... to owner of this (repeated three times)".

Translation by Yassir al-Tabba:
-rim: "Glory, prosperity, dominion, devotion, security, glory, good health, perfection, dignity, and continuous survival to its owner. Its owner Abu Bakr Ali Malik Dad al-Tabrizi";

[Francesca Leoni, Fellow 02-07-08. Its owner Abu Bakr 'Ali Malik Zad al-Tabrizi]
-outside of rim: "With auspiciousness, blessing, dominion, highness to (our lord), happiness, joy, good health, dignity, victory, ability, mercy, rest, ornament, and continuance to its owner";
-base: "Glory, prosperity, dominion, happiness, security, wealth, good health, perfect dignity, victory, strength, ability, mercy, rest, increase, joy, and continuous survival to its owner".
Edward C. Moore (American, New York 1827–1891 New York), New York (until d. 1891; bequeathed to MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Following the Stars: Images of the Zodiac in Islamic Art," February 4, 1997–August 31, 1997, no. 8.

Carboni, Stefano. Following the Stars: The Zodiac in Islamic Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997. no. 8, pp. 23-23, ill. (b/w), 91.1.527a only.

Ekhtiar, Maryam, and Claire Moore, ed. "A Resource for Educators." In Art of the Islamic World. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2012. pp. 102-103, ill. figs. 19, 20, fig. 20: pestle accompanying the mortar.

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