Art/ Collection/ Art Object


12th century
Made in probably Afghanistan
Bronze; cast
D. 3/16 in. (0.5 cm) Diam. 2 1/2 in. (6.4 cm) Wt. 1.9 oz. (53.9 g)
Credit Line:
Gift of Dr. Maurice S. Dimand, in memory of his wife, Avis, 1976
Accession Number:
Not on view
This small mirror, despite its fragmentary, worn condition, has preserved its benedictory kufic inscription that surrounds a bird with open wings and haloed head. Scholars have interpreted the central image of this mirror as Zeus – metamorphosed into an eagle – carrying away his beloved Ganymede (referring to the Greek mythology) or the prince Zal carried away by the Simurgh (referring to the Persian national epic the Shahnama, the Book of Kings). The human figure is not recognizable on this mirror and it is possible that only an eagle or other bird of prey is depicted. Stylistically and iconographically such birds were popular in the medieval eastern Islamic world, where they conveyed means of royalty, power and protection.
Inscription: Around border in Arabic: "Glory and prosperity and power and grandeur and benefit and excellence to its owner."

In Arabic in kufic script:
عز و اقبال و دولة و علو و رفعة ... لصاحبه


It also read by MK as:
عز و اقبال و دولة و علو و نعمة و [نصر؟] و برکة لصاحبه
Maurice S. Dimand, New York (until 1976; gifted to MMA)
Baker, Patricia L., and Barbara Brend, ed. "Studies in Honour of Professor Géza Fehérvari." In Sifting Sands, Reading Signs. London: Furnace Publishing, 2006. p. 166, ill. fig. 5b (b/w).

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