This piece and objects 18.112 and 37.55 speak to two “transformation” trends of the early twentieth century: the “improvement” (if not forging) of artifacts, and the application of a limited number of geographical attributions (galvanized by a discovery and then standardized in the trade). This frieze and 18.112 are said to have come from Rayy, a claim made about many artifacts traded at the time. Spontaneous digs and organized, legal commercial excavations were carried out on the site from the nineteenth century, but their details went undocumented. In this case, comparison with artifacts unearthed in scientific excavations in the 1930s substantiates the attribution to Rayy.
Hagop Kevorkian, New York (until 1918; gifted to MMA)
Dimand, Maurice S. A Handbook of Muhammadan Art. 2nd rev. and enl. ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1944. p. 94, ill. fig. 56 (b/w).