Collections: Arts of the Islamic World: Spherical Hanging Ornament

  • 1st Floor
    Arts of Africa, Steinberg Family Sculpture Garden
  • 2nd Floor
    Arts of Asia and the Islamic World
  • 3rd Floor
    Egyptian Art, European Paintings
  • 4th Floor
    Contemporary Art, Decorative Arts, Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art
  • 5th Floor
    Luce Center for American Art

On View: Hieroglyphic Inscription

The hieroglyphic text on this relief mentions two rites performed for the king—pouring water and fumigation—as well as offerings...

Hiroshige's One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

Hiroshige's 118 woodblock landscape and genre scenes of mid-nineteenth-century Tokyo, is one of the greatest achievements of Japanese art.

    On View: A Morning Snow--Hudson River

    Assured, slashing strokes of a heavily loaded brush capture the effects of morning light reflected from freshly fallen snow. This view of th...


    Want to add this object to a set? Please join the Posse, or log in.


    43.24.8_view2_PS9.jpg 43.24.8_reference_SL1.jpg 43.24.8_view1_PS9.jpg 43.24.8_detail_PS9.jpg CONS.43.24.8_1990_xrs_detail01.jpg CONS.43.24.8_1990_xrs_detail02.jpg CONS.43.24.8_1990_xrs_detail03.jpg CONS.43.24.8_1990_xrs_detail04.jpg CUR.43.24.8_view1.jpg CUR.43.24.8_view2.jpg

    Spherical Hanging Ornament

    One of the most outstanding examples from the Brooklyn Museum's fine collection of Islamic ceramics is a large spherical hanging ornament from Ottoman Turkey. The sixteenth century marked the culmination of Ottoman Turkish imperial power and patronage of the arts, particularly under the ruler Süleyman the Magnificent (reigned 1520–66). In the late sixteenth century, Ottoman ceramic production at Iznik (ancient Nicea) reached maturity. Created by the designers of the imperial workshop, or nakkashane, the design on this spherical hanging ornament is a harmonious combination of naturalistic floral motifs and stylized vine-scrolls and palmettes characteristic of the late phase of Iznik production (1560–1650).

    Although the history of Iznik ceramic design is well documented, the precise function of spherical ornaments such as this one is more difficult to establish. Nonetheless, the absence of decoration on one side and the metal brackets on the top and bottom provide clues to the purpose of such objects. They were intended to hang on chains suspended from the ceilings of mosques and other religious structures and to be viewed only from a distance or directly underneath. It is unclear whether large spheres, such as this example, were made to hang independently or along with mosque lamps. In both Christian and Muslim sanctuaries in the Middle East it remains common practice to hang spherical ornaments of glass, metal, or ceramic, perhaps to symbolize the orb of heaven.

    • Medium: Ceramic; fritware, painted in black, cobalt blue, green, and red on a white slip ground under a transparent glaze
    • Possible Place Made: Iznik, Turkey
    • Dates: 1575-1585
    • Dynasty: Ottoman
    • Period: Ottoman
    • Dimensions: 4 5/16 x 4 5/16 x 11 15/16in. (11 x 11 x 30.3cm) diameter: 11 15/16 in. (30.3 cm)  (show scale)
    • Collections:Arts of the Islamic World
    • Museum Location: This item is not on view
    • Accession Number: 43.24.8
    • Credit Line: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Frederic B. Pratt
    • Rights Statement: Creative Commons-BY
    • Caption: Spherical Hanging Ornament, 1575-1585. Ceramic; fritware, painted in black, cobalt blue, green, and red on a white slip ground under a transparent glaze, 4 5/16 x 4 5/16 x 11 15/16in. (11 x 11 x 30.3cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Frederic B. Pratt, 43.24.8. Creative Commons-BY
    • Image: top, 43.24.8_view2_PS9.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2013
    • Record Completeness: Best (92%)
    advanced 110,570 records currently online.

    Separate each tag with a space: painting portrait.

    Or join words together in one tag by using double quotes: "Brooklyn Museum."

    Please review the comment guidelines before posting.

    Before you comment...

    We get a lot of comments, so before you post yours, check to see if your issue is addressed by one of the questions below. Click on a question to see our answer:

    Why are some objects not on view?

    The Museum’s permanent collections are very large and only a fraction of these can be on exhibition at any given time. Sometimes works are lent to other museums for special exhibitions; sometimes they are in the conservation laboratory for study or maintenance. Certain types of objects, such as watercolors, textiles, and photographs, are sensitive to light and begin to fade if they are exposed for too long, so their exhibition time is limited. Finally, as large as the Museum is, there is not enough room to display everything in the collections. In order to present our best works, collections are rotated periodically.

    How do I find out how much an object in the Brooklyn Museum collections is worth?

    The Museum does not disclose the monetary values of objects in its collections.

    Can you tell me the value of an artwork that I own?

    The Museum does not provide monetary appraisals. To determine the value of an object or to find an appraiser, you may contact the Art Dealers Association of America or the American Society of Appraisers.

    I own a similar object. Can you tell me more about it?

    Please submit via e-mail a photograph of the object you own and as much information about it as you can, and we will provide any additional information we are able to find. Please note that research in our files is a lengthy process, and you may not have a response for some time.

    How would I go about lending or gifting a work to the Museum or seeing if the Museum is interested in purchasing a work that I own?

    Please submit via e-mail a photograph of the object you would like us to consider, as well as all of the information you have about it, and your offer will be forwarded to the appropriate curator. The Brooklyn Museum collections are very rich, and we have many works that are not currently on exhibition; because of this, and because storage space is limited, we are very selective about adding works. However, the collection has become what it is today through the generosity of the public, and we continue to be grateful for this generosity, which can still lead to exciting new acquisitions.

    How can I get a reproduction of a work in your collection?

    Please see the Museum’s information on Image Services.

    How can I show my work to someone at the Museum or be considered for an exhibition?

    Please see the Museum’s Artist Submission Guidelines.

    Why do many objects not have photographs and/or complete descriptions?

    The Museum's collection is very large, and we are constantly in the process of adding photographs and descriptions to works that do not currently have them, or replacing photographs that have deteriorated beyond use and descriptions that are minimal or out of date. This is a long and expensive process that takes time.

    How can I find a conservator or get advice on how to treat my artwork?

    Please visit the American Institute for Conservation, which has a feature on how to find a conservator.

    I have a comment or question which is not included in this list.

    Join the posse or log in to work with our collections. Your tags, comments and favorites will display with your attribution.