Lid of an Incense Burner
Made in Eastern Mediterranean, excavated at Umm al-Walid, Jordan
Leaded bronze, cast, pierced, and engraved
L: 3 9/16 in. (9 cm); w: 3 3/8 in. (8.5 cm)
Madaba Archaeological Museum, Jordan ( 667 )
Not on view
Silks were woven in many designs. One widely popular type was a diaper pattern that used a latticelike organizational scheme with narrow intersecting diagonal bands to create rhomboid or square fields filled with various motifs.
The diaper pattern of lozenges framed with pearls resembles patterns on contemporary silks. The pearls are a hallmark of Roman, Byzantine, and Sasanian metalwork. The lid’s secure excavation provenance and dating provide a valuable connection between Islamic metalwork and the late antique tradition.