Art/ Collection/ Art Object


17th century
Attributed to Iran
Steel, inlaid with gold
H. 14.50 in. (36.8 cm) Diam. 13 in. (33 cm)
Arms and Armor
Credit Line:
Edward C. Moore Collection, Bequest of Edward C. Moore, 1891
Accession Number:
Not on view
Steel armor, such as this steel cuirass, was frequently inscribed with pious inscriptions and verses from the Qur'an. The inscriptions on this steel cuirass have a talismanic function; they are drawn from sura 98 (Bayyinah, of Clear Proof) and describe God as the God of Light. They allude to the rewards He will bestow upon believers and the punishment He will mete out to unbelievers and evildoers. The chahar-a’ina (four-mirror) refers to the four originally undecorated steel plates, which were hinged together to produce a cuirass of this type. Here, the light imagery is accentuated by the interplay of the steel plates and the Qur’anic verses.
Inscription: Koran: XCVIII:1-27
Edward C. Moore (American, New York 1827–1891 New York), New York (until d. 1891; bequeathed to MMA)
Hempstead, NY. The Emily Lowe Gallery. "Inscription as Art in the World of Islam," April 14, 1996–May 24, 1996, no. 1.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Power and Piety: Islamic Talismans on the Battlefield," August 29, 2016–February 13, 2017, no catalogue.

Rahim Habibeh. "at the Emily Lowe Gallery." In Inscription as Art in the World of Islam-Unity in Diversity. Hempstead, NY: Hofstra Museum, Hofstra University, 1996. no. Arms and Armament no. 1, p. 33, ill. fig. 1 (b/w).

Alexander, David G., and Stuart W. Pyhrr. "in the Metropolitan Museum of Art." In Islamic Arms and Armor. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2015. p. 6, ill. fig. 5 (color).

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