Incense was widely used in the medieval Islamic world. At receptions and special events, servants would waft the guests with the aromatic smoke emanating from the openwork of the incense burner and sprinkle them with drops of scented water. This bird‑shaped incense burner represents a class of metalwork that would have been sold at market. Birds figure prominently in the decorative repertoire of the Seljuq period, and were probably associated with good fortune.
[ Brimo de Laroussilhe*, Paris, until 1938, sold to Brummer]; Joseph Brummer, New York (1938–d. 1947; his sale, Parke-Bernet Galleries,New York, May 11–14, 1949, no. 111, to MMA)
Parke-Bernet Galleries. "Public Auction Sale, Part 2, May 11–14, 1949." In The Notable Art Collection Belonging to the Estate of the Late Joseph Brummer. New York, 1949. no. pt. II, no. 111, pp. 24-25, ill. p. 25.