Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

Seal Ring with Inscription

Object Name:
late 15th–early 16th century
Iran or Central Asia
Gold, cast and chased; nephrite, carved
H.1 3/8 in. (3.5 cm) Diam. 1 in. (2.5 cm)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1912
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 455
This magnificent gold ring holds a jade stone engraved with religious verses known as the Nad-i 'Ali, an invocation to 'Ali ibn Abi Talib, son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad. The text is written in mirror reverse, suggesting that the stone may once have served as a seal. Further tiny poetic inscriptions—in cartouches around the golden bezel—contain prayerlike verses, perhaps invested with apotropaic qualities, placed there to ensure the safety of its wearer.
Inscription: Inscriptions in Arabic in thuluth script on stone:
At center of seal:
عزمن لا یموت
Glorified be [He] who will not die.

Surrounding seal, in four segments:
ناد علیاً مظهر العجائبی
تجده عوناً لك في النوائبي
کل هم و غم سینجلي
بولایتك یا علي یا علي یا علي
Call upon ‘Ali, the revealer of miracles made manifest,
You will find him a comfort to you in times of misfortune
All care and sorrows will disappear through your companionship,
O ‘Ali, O ‘Ali, O ‘Ali

Inscription in Persian in thuluth script, around bezel:
جانـا نـداي تـرا بجاهسـت کـه حدیـث گویـم عالم هر دو در نگین جانبخش لعل شماست
سلیمان خوان ازین خاتم عالم بود در کفش کــه مهـــر جانـــم هســـت محبـــت سانــم؟
O my Lord! Instead of writing Thy name, I say the following words.
O my soul! In consequence of my love Thy image is everywhere with me.
O my soul! Be as wise in conversation as Solomon. My world and heaven are
in this ring.”

Inscription in Persian in kufic script on interior of bezel:
مبارک باد
Be fortunate

Inscription in kufic script underneath stone:
[ Indjoudjian Frères, Paris, until 1912; sold to MMA]
Dimand, Maurice S. A Handbook of Mohammedan Decorative Arts. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1930. p. 106, ill. fig. 47 (b/w).

Wilson, Arnold T. "7th January to 28th February, 1931." In Catalogue of the International Exhibition of Persian Art. 3rd. ed. London: Royal Academy of Arts, 1931. no. 195, p. 125.

Near Eastern Jewelry : a Picture Book. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1940. ill. fig. 11.

Dimand, Maurice S. A Handbook of Muhammadan Art. 2nd rev. and enl. ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1944. p. 154, ill. fig. 93 (b/w).

"Gold." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin vol. 31, no. 2 (Winter 1972/1973). pp. 69-121.

Welch, Anthony. Calligraphy in the Arts of the Muslim World. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1979. no. 50, p. 129, ill. (b/w).

Komaroff, Linda. "Timurid to Safavid Iran: continuity and change." Marsyas (1979-1980). pp. 11-16, ill. fig. 13, plate XII.

Keene, M., and Marilyn Jenkins-Madina. "Djawahar." In The Encyclopaedia of Islam Supplement. Fasc. 5-6. 1980. pp. 256-257, ill. fig. 26 (b/w), Pl. XXXVII.

Welch, Stuart Cary. The Islamic World. vol. 11. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1987. p. 88, ill. fig. 66 (color).

Jenkins-Madina, Marilyn, and Manuel Keene. Islamic Jewelry in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1983. no. 56a, p. 99, ill. (b/w).

Lentz, Thomas W., and Glenn D. Lowry. "Persian Art and Culture in the Fifteenth Century." In Timur and the Princely Vision. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1989. no. 142, pp. 253, 358.

Tilden, Jill, ed. First Under Heaven: The Art of Asia, Hali annual, vol. 4 (1997). p. 15, ill. fig. 11 (color).

de Montebello, Philippe, and Kathleen Howard, ed. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide. 6th ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1992. p. 186, ill. fig. 16 (color).

Price, Judith. "Exquisite Objects from the Cradle of Civilization." In Masterpieces of Ancient Jewelry. Philadelphia; London, 2008. p. 122, ill. (color).

Ekhtiar, Maryam, Sheila R. Canby, Navina Haidar, and Priscilla P. Soucek, ed. Masterpieces from the Department of Islamic Art in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1st ed. ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2011. no. 134, pp. 196-197, ill. p. 197 (color).

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