Art/ Collection/ Art Object


12th century
Attributed to Iran
Bronze; cast, chased
Diam. 7 5/8 in. (19.4 cm)
Depth. 1 in. (2.5 cm)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1942
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 453
The casting technique for this mirror, known as sand casting, was introduced to Iran from China around the mid-eleventh century. The form, with a prominent central knob from which it could be hung, is also inspired by Chinese models. However, the decoration— with an inscription bearing good wishes in Arabic, a ring of running animals, and a scrolling vegetal design— is drawn from the repertoire of Iran during the time of the Seljuqs.
Inscription: Arabic, on outer register, in foliated Kufic script; for transcription, see catalogue card/file; translation: (12 good wishes for the owner) "Blessing, joy, happiness, felicity, dignity, victory, uprightness, support, strengthening, authority, praise, and survival to its owner". (Trans. Yassir al-Tabba, 1978)

Arabic inscription In foliated kufic script:
برکة و یمن و سرور و سعادة و کرامة و نصر و استقامة و تایید و تمکین و سلطان و ثنا و بقا لصاحبه

The inscription also read by Yassir al-Tabba as:
برکة و یمن و سرور و سعادة و کرامة و نصر و استقامة و تایید و تمکین و سلطان و ثنا و بقا لصاحبه
[ Demotte, Inc., New York, in 1931]; [ Heeramaneck Galleries, New York, until 1942; sold to MMA]
London. Burlington House. "International Exhibition of Persian Art," January 7, 1931–February 28, 1931, no. 229.

Mexico City. Colegio de San Ildefonso. "Arte islamico del Museo Metropolitano de Arte de Nueva York," September 30, 1994–January 8, 1995, no. 76.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Nature of Islamic Ornament Part I: Calligraphy," February 26, 1998–June 28, 1998, no catalogue.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Balcony Calligraphy Exhibition," June 1, 2009–October 26, 2009, no catalogue.

Wilson, Arnold T. "7th January to 28th February, 1931." In Catalogue of the International Exhibition of Persian Art. 3rd. ed. London: Royal Academy of Arts, 1931. no. 229, p. 149.

Welch, Stuart Cary. The Islamic World. vol. 11. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1987. p. 42, ill. fig. 28 (color).

Schimmel, Annemarie. "Islamic Calligraphy." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., vol. 50, no. 1 (Summer 1992). p. 9, ill. fig. 9 (b/w).

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Daniel S. Walker, Arturo Ponce Guadián, Sussan Babaie, Stefano Carboni, Aimee Froom, Marie Lukens Swietochowski, Tomoko Masuya, Annie Christine Daskalakis-Matthews, Abdallah Kahil, and Rochelle Kessler. "Colegio de San Ildefonso, Septiembre de 1994-Enero de 1995." In Arte Islámico del Museo Metropolitano de Arte de Nueva York. Mexico City: Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes, 1994. no. 76, pp. 196-197, ill. p. 197 (b/w).

Baker, Patricia L., and Barbara Brend, ed. "Studies in Honour of Professor Géza Fehérvari." In Sifting Sands, Reading Signs. London: Furnace Publishing, 2006. p. 165, ill. fig. 4 (b/w).

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