Square Tray with Recessed Medallion

Object Name:
early 13th century
Iran, Khurasan
Brass; hammered, engraved, inlaid with silver
H. 1 7/8 in. (4.76 cm) W. 8 1/2 in. (21.59 cm) L. 8 3/8 in. (21.27 cm)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1956
Accession Number:
  • Description

    By the early thirteenth century, the new approach to the decoration of metalwork was fully developed. Now, intricate inlaid designs enliven the entire surface. The motifs on this tray reflect the extensive decorative repertoire of this period, including a central duck‑and‑fish composition, human‑headed harpies in the lobes, and seated figures on the sides. Against a ground of spiraling scrolls, the foliated kufic inscription conveys lengthy benedictions in Arabic to an anonymous owner.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Arabic, around to edges in Naskhi script and on bottom of depression in Kufic script; benedictions; translations below:

    -around top edges, in Naskhi: "Glory, and prosperity, power, well-being, happiness, well-being, favor (?), health, nobility, help, praise, thanks, victory, conquest, stability, sufficiency, protection, ease, completeness, assistance, help, long life to the owner, and mercy upon him";
    -in bottom of depression, in Kufic: "With success, blessing, power, nobility, happiness, health, favor, praise, safety, victory, conquest, completeness... ".

    Translation by Yassir al-Tabba (1978):
    -top, periphery: "Glory, prosperity, dominion, security, happiness, security, wealth, good health, dignity, generosity, care, thanfulness, thankers, dominion, victory, victorious, continuance, sufficience, intercession, ... .., support, care, and continous life to its owner and mercy";
    -top, center: "With auspiciousness, blessing, dominion, safety, happiness, good health, wealth, thankfulness, security, victory, victorious, restfulness, ascension, and perfect";
    -sides: "With auspiciousness, blessing, dominion, happiness, security, wealth, perfection, good health, blessing, thankfulness, security, victory, victorious, perfection, intercession, continuance, satisfaction, sufficiency, intercession to its owner".

    Per P.E. Cheveddin, 13 October 1979:
    "I have noticed a few errors in Yassir's reading: in the naskhi incription on the rim he left out al-ta'yi(d) which occurs just after al-shafa`a and before al-tamma. In the Kufic inscription on the inside of the table-top, fine up to al-nasira and he adds a couple of words which are not present. The words following al-nasira are wa'l tamma wa al-sa(hibihi) (sic)..."

    All the inscriptions are in Kufic script.
    In the center:
    العز و الاقبال و الدولة و السلامة و السعادة و السلامة و العافیة و النعمة و الشکرة و السارة و النصرة و الناصرة و الراحة و
    Around outer rim:
    العز و الاقبال و الدولة و السلا/مة و السعادة و السلامة وا/لنعمة و العافیة و الکرامة و البر/ و العنایة و الشکرة و الشاکرة و الد/ و النصرة و الناصرة و الدوامة والـ/ و الکفاعة (الکفایة) و الشفاعة و التاییـ/ و التامة و التایید و العنایة وا/ لبقا الدائم لصاحبه و النعمة

    بالیمن و البرکة و الدو/لة و السعادة و السلامة/ و النعمة و التامة و العافیة / و البرکة و الشکرة وا/ و السالمة و النصرة و الناصرة / و التامة و الشفاعة و / الدوامة و القناعة و الکفا/یة و الشفاعة لصاحبه
    The inscriptions also read by Yassir al-Tabba as:
    Top periphery العز و الاقبال و الدوله و السلامه و السعاده و السلامه والنعمه و العافیه و الکرامه و البر و العنایه و الشکره و الشاکره و الد[وله] و النصره و الناصره و الدوامه و الکفایه و الشفاعه و التامه و التایید و العنایه والبقا الدائم لصاحبه و الرحمه
    Top, center بالیمن و البرکه و الدوله و السلامه و السعاده و العافیه و النعمه و الشکره و السالمه و النصره و الناصره و العلا التامه
    Sides بالیمن و البرکه و ال/له و السعاده و السلامه/ و النعمه و التامه و العافیه/ و البرکه و الشکره وا/ و االسالمه و النصره و الناصره/ و التامه و الشفاعه و الدوامه و القناعه و الکفا/یه و الشفاعه و الصاحبه

  • Provenance

    Eugene Mutiaux, Paris; [ Heeramaneck Galleries, New York, until 1956; sold to MMA]

  • See also
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History