Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Talismanic Scroll

Object Name:
11th century
Attributed to Egypt
Ink on paper; block-printed
9 1/16 x 3 5/16in. (23 x 8.4cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Nelly, Violet and Elie Abemayor, in memory of Michel Abemayor, 1978
Accession Number:
Not on view
Centuries before block printing was introduced in Europe, the technique was used in the Islamic world to produce miniature texts consisting of prayers, incantations, and Qur'anic verses that were kept in amulet boxes. The text on this amulet is in the angular kufic script. The six-pointed star, a familiar symbol in Islamic art, is usually called "Solomon's seal."
Michel E. Abemayor, New York (until d. 1975); Nelly, Violet, and Elie Abemayor, Great Neck, NY (1975–78; gifted to MMA)
New York. Jewish Museum, New York. "The Cairo Geniza: Jews & Muslims in the Mediterranean World 800–1500," January 1, 1997–October 12, 1997, no catalogue.

Paris. Institut du Monde Arabe. "Tresors Fatimides du Caire," April 28, 1998–August 30, 1998, no. 98.

"Exposition Présentée à l'Institut du Monde Arabe du 28 Avril au 30 Aout 1998." In Trésors Fatimides du Caire. Paris: Institut du Monde Arabe, 1998. no. 98, p. 155, ill. (color).

Seipel, Wilfried. "Islamische Kunst zur Fatimidenzeit." In Schatze der Kalifen. Vienna: Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, 1999. no. 123, pp. 155, 157, ill. p. 157 (color).

Schaefer, Karl R. "Medieval Arabic Block Printed Amulets in American and European Libraries and Museums.." Enigmatic Charms, Handbook of Oriental Studies. Section one, Near and Middle East, vol. 82 (2006). pp. 193-196, ill. pl. 47 a,b,c.

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