Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Two Ewers with Lamp-shaped Spouts

Object Name:
late 12th century
Attributed to Iran, Khurasan
Brass; cast, chased, engraved, inlaid with silver and black compound
H. 7 1/4 in. (18.41 cm)
(not assigned)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1933
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 453
The shape and decoration of this ewer and 54.64 are very similar. On this piece, the handle is preserved, and its leonine form is echoed in the lion mask on the lid. This object represents an early phase of the inlay technique, when areas of intricate inlay were balanced by broad zones of brass. Like other metalwork objects from the period, this ewer bears Arabic inscriptions of good wishes to the owner.
Inscription: Inscription in Arabic, in kufic script on belly, and in naskhi script in bands; for transcription, see catalogue card/file; translation: "(top) Might, prosperity, power, health, happiness, to the owner"; "(bottom) Victory and blessing, and power, and well-being, and happiness, and health, and victory, and intercession, and stability to the owner"; "The owner [is] `Ali bin `Abd al-Rahman bin Tahir al Adib (learned priest) the Sijzi (from Sistan)". (Trans. H.E. McAllister, approved by Dr. Herzfeld, 3/1938)

Translation by Yassir al-Tabba (1978):
-top: "Glory, prosperity, dominion, security, and happiness to its owner";
-belly: "Its owner `Ali bin `Abd al-Rahman bin Tahir al-Adib al-Sijzi (of Sijistan)";
-bottom: "With auspiciousness, blessing, dominion, wealth, happiness, security, victory, forgiveness, and continuance to its owner".

Top in naskhi script:
العز و الاقبال و الدولة/ و السلامة و السعادة لصاحبه

On belly in kufic script:
صاحبه علي بن عبدالرحمن/ بن طاهر الادیب السجزي

Bottom in kufic script:
بالیمن و البرکة و الدولة و النعمة و السعادة/ و السلامة و الشکرة و الشفاعة لصاحبه


The inscription also read by Yassir al-Tabba as:
Top العز و الاقبال و لدوله و السلامه و السعاده لصاحبه
Belly صاحبه علی بن عبدالرحمن بن طاهر الادیب السجزی
Bottom بالیمن و البرکه و الدوله و النعمه و السعاده و السلامه و النصره و الشفاعه و البقا لصاحبه
[ R. Y. Mottahedeh, until 1933; sold to MMA]
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Making the Invisible Visible," April 2, 2013–August 4, 2013, no catalogue.

Dimand, Maurice S. Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin vol. 29 (1934). pp. 25-26, ill. p. 25 (b/w).

Dimand, Maurice S. A Handbook of Muhammadan Art. 2nd rev. and enl. ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1944. p. 142, ill. fig. 83 (b/w).

Ettinghausen, Richard, and Oleg Grabar. The Art and Architecture of Islam: 650–1250. Middlesex, England: Penguin Books, 1987. p. 339, ill. fig. 359 (b/w).

Shalem, Avinoam. "Fountains of Light: The Meaning of Medieval Islamic Rock Crystal Lamps." Muqarnas vol. 11 (1994). p. 8, ill. fig. 9 (b/w).

Ettinghausen, Richard, Oleg Grabar, and Marilyn Jenkins-Madina. Islamic Art and Architecture 650–1250. 2nd ed. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2001. p. 167, ill. fig. 255 (color).

Related Objects


Artist: Date: ca. 1180–1210
Accession Number: 44.15
Date: ca. 1180–1210 Medium: Brass; raised, repoussé, inlaid with silver and a black compound Accession: 44.15 On view in:Gallery 453

Square Tray with Recessed Medallion

Artist: Date: early 13th century
Accession Number: 56.144
Date: early 13th century Medium: Brass; hammered, engraved, inlaid with silver Accession: 56.144 On view in:Gallery 453

Ewer base with Zodiac medallions

Artist: Date: first half 13th century
Accession Number: 91.1.530
Date: first half 13th century Medium: Brass; engraved, inlaid with silver and copper Accession: 91.1.530 On view in:Gallery 453

Ewer with Lamp-Shaped Spout

Artist: Date: 12th century
Accession Number: 54.64
Date: 12th century Medium: Brass; cast, engraved, inlaid with silver, copper and black compound Accession: 54.64 On view in:Gallery 453

Ewer with Inscriptions and Hunting Scenes

Artist: Date: 11th century
Accession Number: 38.40.240
Date: 11th century Medium: Bronze; cast, engraved Accession: 38.40.240 On view in:Gallery 453