Incense burner, cast, engraved bronze. “Made by Abu’l-Qasim bin Abdallah”
Eastern Iran or Afghanistan; 12th century
H: 19.8; L: 21.2 cm
This incense burner, with its complex structure and decoration, is a little masterpiece. It was made entirely of finely worked bronze just at a time when the new technique of inlaying with precious metals was gaining ground. Animals, especially birds and frequently in combat, embellish the lid.
They are found both in three-dimensional form and in the drop-shaped openwork sections from which the aromatic smoke emerged. The cylindrical container for incense is decorated with an Arabic inscription – “Boundless honor, wealth, and happiness to the owner” – in combination with an openwork decoration of entwined tendrils. The incense burner moreover rests on a base in the form of sphinxes, an ancient motif that for some time also remained popular in the Islamic world.
Inv. no. 26/2014