Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History



  • Seal ring with inscription, Timurid period (1370–1507), late 15th–early 16th century
    Iran or Central Asia
    Gold, cast and chased; nephrite, carved; H. 1 3/8 in. (3.5 cm), Diam. 1 in. (2.5 cm)
    Rogers Fund, 1912 (12.224.6)

    This glorious gold cast and chased ring, with its striking nephrite seal, prophetic figures, and a dragon motif, is a fine example of a powerful talisman. The inscriptions on the nephrite seal venerate the Prophet Muhammad's cousin, son-in-law, and leader of the Shici sect cAli ibn Abi Talib (1986.109.2). The inscription at the center of the seal reads: "Glory to He who does not die." The protective power of the ring is comprehended in the poetic invocation that surrounds the center inscription. It reads:

    Call upon cAli whose miracles manifest,
    you will find his help in times of misfortune
    All anguish and sorrow will dissipate
    Through your friendship: Oh cAli Oh cAli Oh cAli

    The power of this poem and the talismanic quality are reinforced on the bezel of the ring in an inscription that calls upon the Prophet Solomon, who was known for his gift of talking to animals and supernatural beings (jinn). The two gold dragon heads that hold the bezel in place are also considered a good omen, reinforcing the ring's apotropaic significance.

    Related


    On view: Gallery 455
    Move Separator Print
    Close
  • Seal ring with inscription, Timurid period (1370–1507), late 15th–early 16th century
    Iran or Central Asia
    Gold, cast and chased; nephrite, carved; H. 1 3/8 in. (3.5 cm), Diam. 1 in. (2.5 cm)
    Rogers Fund, 1912 (12.224.6)


    Move
    Close