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.

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

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

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.

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

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

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.

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).

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