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HOME : Islamic Art : AS Collection 4 : Early Islamic Incense Burner
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Early Islamic Incense Burner - LO.1004
Origin: Central Asia
Circa: 900 AD to 1000 AD
Dimensions: 8" (20.3cm) high x 10.5" (26.7cm) wide
Collection: Islamic Art
Medium: Copper-Alloy

Additional Information: AS

Location: Great Britain
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Imposing incense burner with a cylindrical body standing on three feet, the base flat and pierced in a concentric pattern. The surface of the main body in openwork with a register of tri-lobed arches divided by triple columns. The domed lid featuring a similar pattern of lobed arches with the addition of a descending palmette from the top. The dome topped by a spherical knob with several perforations and a capped finial. The handle of square section pierced throughout and terminating with an animal head finial. This type of incense burner was already known in the Coptic and early Islamic periods, and it featured a standing form with a shallow cylindrical body, a domed lid, a long horizontal handle and three feet. Indeed six examples are known which belong to various international institutions including the Louvre, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Coptic Museum in Cairo and the Fouquet collection in Berlin, presumably all dating between the 8th and the 10th c. AD. Their shape must have been inspired by a Sasanian prototype, as the presence of triple arches with columns, the knobbed domed lid and the animal finial on the handle seem to imply. Yet this typology was not only favoured both in Egypt and in the eastern provinces during the Ummayad dynasty, but also later revived in the Ayubbid and Seljuq periods. The sobre decoration of our example would seem to point to an earlier date, perhaps 10th - 11th century AD.

For an in-depth discussion of this type of incense burner and related examples from known collections, see: J.W.Allan, Metalwork of the Islamic World, Sotheby's, 1985: pp.25-34. - (LO.1004)


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