Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Battle Scene

Object Name:
Illustrated album leaf or single work
13th century
Attributed to Probably Egypt
Opaque watercolor on paper
H. 5 1/2 in. (14 cm) W. 7 3/16 in. (18.3 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Mr. and Mrs. Jerome A. Straka Gift, Fletcher Fund and Margaret Mushekian Gift, 1975
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 899
This scene depicts a battle in which the central figure appears to be the only one who has not lost a limb. Severed heads, arms, and legs and a man who has lost his hand are arranged across the composition. The legs and tail of a downed horse are visible at the lower left. The sketchy drawing and thin wash used for the figures suggest that the image was produced in thirteenth-century Egypt. The curved swords are associated with "Saracens", as found in a thirteenth-century European illustration of a Crusader battle.
[ Herbert N. Bier, London, until 1975; sold to MMA]
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Fifty Years of Collecting Islamic Art," September 23, 2013–January 26, 2014, no catalogue.

Drake Boehm, Barbara, and Melanie Holcomb, ed. Jerusalem, 1000–1400: Every People under Heaven. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2016. no. 106, p. 210, ill. fig. 106.

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