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Calligraphic Plaque

Object Name:
probably late 17th century
Steel; forged and pierced
H. 6 1/2 in. (16.5 cm) W. 15 in. (38.1 cm)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1987
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 462
This cartouche‑shaped plaque was created from a single sheet of solid steel, whose wide, flat border encloses a hemistich referring to Fatima and her sons. The text is part of a versification of the names of the chahardah ma'sum, or the fourteen infallible ones (the Prophet, Fatima, and the twelve imams). Such plaques, which served both a decorative and invocative function, were often set in the doors of shrines, mosques, and theological schools.
Inscription: Inscription in Arabic in thuluth script:
و بزهراء بتول و باُم ولدتها
And by Zahra’ the Immaculate One and the Mother who bore her
بنبي عربي و رسول مدني و اخيه اسد الله مسمي بعلي
و بزهراء بتول و باُم ولدتها و بسبطيه هما نجل و زكي
و بالسجاد و بالباقر و الصادق حقاً و بموسي و علي و تقي و نقي
و بذي العسكر الحجة القائم بالحق الذي يضرب بالسيف بحكم ازلي
Sir Charles Marling, England (early 1900s–at least 1931); Marling family, England, by descent (until 1987); [ Ahuan U.K., Ltd., 1987; sold to MMA]
Wilson, Arnold T. "7th January to 28th February, 1931." In Catalogue of the International Exhibition of Persian Art. 3rd. ed. London: Royal Academy of Arts, 1931. no. nos. 317, 318, p. 178.

Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin vol. 44 (1986–1987). p. 11, ill. (b/w).

Schimmel, Annemarie. "Islamic Calligraphy." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin vol. (Summer 1992). pp. 44, 46, ill. fig. 55 (b/w).

Ekhtiar, Maryam, Sheila R. Canby, Navina Haidar, and Priscilla P. Soucek, ed. Masterpieces from the Department of Islamic Art in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1st ed. ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2011. no. 166, pp. 241-242, ill. p. 241 (color).

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