Calligraphic Plaque

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 462

This cartouche-shaped plaque was created from a single sheet of solid steel, whose wide, flat border encloses a hemistich referring to Batul (a title associated with Fatima, The Prophet Muhammad’s daughter, and Imam Ali’s wife) and her two sons (Hasan and Husayn). The verse is from a poem extolling names of the chahardah maʿsum, or the fourteen infallible ones (the Prophet, Fatima, and the twelve imams). Such plaques were once part of a larger epigraphic ensembles that served both a decorative and invocative function. They often adorned the doors of shrines, mosques, and theological schools.

Calligraphic Plaque, Steel; forged and pierced

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