On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 455

Anthropomorphic calligraphy, also referred to as human-headed naskh, was unique to metalwork made in Eastern Iran and Mosul, in present-day Iraq, during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. On this vessel the upright shafts of the letters terminate in heads with facial features. In other examples, the shapes of the letters act as the arms and legs of figures. This short-lived style reflects the ingenuity and playfulness of the artist-designer.

Ewer, Bronze; cast with handle cast separately, chased, engraved, inlaid with silver and gold

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