Jug (Mashraba) with Human-Headed Inscription and Zodiac Signs
Arts of the Islamic World
The Arabic inscription around the neck of this jug is written in a naskh script that terminates in human heads and reads, “Glory, success, dominion, safety, happiness, care, and long life to the owner.” The inscription on the foot reads, “Glory, success, dominion, happiness, safety, intercession, and long life to the owner.”
Copper alloy, engraved, inlaid and overlaid with silver
late 12th-early 13th century
height: 5 1/2 in. (14 cm)
diameter: 5 1/4 in. (13.3 cm) (show scale)
The top panel encircling the neck of the jug consists of a band of inscription in Arabic in human-headed naskhi script that reads: "Glory, success, dominion, safety, happiness, care, and long life to the owner." The register on the foot of the jug consists of another band of human-headed Arabic naskhi that reads: "Glory, success, happiness, safety, intercession, and long life to the owner." The tips of the vertical letters end in human heads, whereas the descending letters end in legs and feet.
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Gift of the Ernest Erickson Foundation, Inc.
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Jug (Mashraba) with Human-Headed Inscription and Zodiac Signs, late 12th-early 13th century. Copper alloy, engraved, inlaid and overlaid with silver, height: 5 1/2 in. (14 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Ernest Erickson Foundation, Inc., 86.227.123. Creative Commons-BY
overall, 86.227.123_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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Inlaid with silver, chased and engraved; decorated with inscriptions in animated naskh script, figural, geometric, and zodiac designs.
Brass, inlaid with silver, chased and engraved. It has a high, wide neck, bulbous body, flaring foot, and although the handle is missing, this jug is the finest metal object in the Erickson Collection. It has six horizontal bands of various widths with epigraphic, figural, and geometric embellishment. There is an Arabic inscription in human headed "naskhi" (cursive) script, around the neck, which reads: "Glory, success, dominion, safety, happiness, care, and long life to the owner". On the foot there is another human-headed "naskhi" inscription with two variations on the first (the order of the words for safety and happiness is reversed and the word "intercession" replaces "care". The tops of the human heads are flat and their hair is depicted by a horizontal line across the figures' brows. On the shoulder of the jug run two bands consisting of cheetahs, dogs (?) and rabbits chasing one another. The narrow band between the lower animal frieze and the foot consists of a geometric interlace, punctuated by roundels containing harpies, common on 12th and 13th century Iranian metalwork. The main decorative band in the middle has the twelve signs of the zodiac in roundels with geometric interlace.
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