Exhibitions/ Art Object

Pyxis

Date:
8th century
Geography:
Made in Eastern Mediterranean, excavated at al-Fudayn (Mafraq), Jordan
Medium:
Ivory, carved, incised, and infilled with red and black pigments
Dimensions:
H:2 3/4 in (7 cm); diam: 3 9/16 in. (9 cm)
Classification:
Ivories
Credit Line:
Jordan Archaeological Museum, Amman (J. 15708)
Not on view
Al-Fudayn, an Umayyad residence located on trade routes joining cities such as Gerasa (Jerash) with the Arabian Peninsula, belonged to the exceptionally wealthy great grandson of the third Orthodox caliph ‘Uthman ibin ‘Afan. It was destroyed in the early ninth century, when a subsequent owner opposed the Abbasids. These luxury goods were found together and were perhaps hidden at that time.
The arcades and horizontal bands decorating this pyxis are outlined by dotted circles, a widely used ancient motif. The ivory would have come to al-Fudayn from East Africa and Ethiopia through the port of Oman, where it was worked, via the trade routes of the Arabian Peninsula.
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