Inkwell of Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Ali, ink container - ROM2018_16335_26


Inkwell of Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Ali, ink container

Medium:Bronze (cast, hammered, soldered); engraved, inlaid with silver and copper
Geography: Herat, Afghanistan
Date: Late 12th century AD
Period: Mediaeval Period
6 x 6.5 cm
Object number: 972.10.1.1
On view
Gallery Location:Wirth Gallery of the Middle East

This inkwell has three portraits. The inscription on the cover names Ali son of Muhammad son of Ali, Inspector (mushrif) in charge of the royal household accounts. Because two of the portraits display tools associated with his trade (a surveying instrument to assess property value and tax, a pen and a purse), we believe that these portraits represent him. The third panel shows a person presenting the inkwell, perhaps as a gift.

At least two other inkwells with similar figural panels are known (cf. Taragon 2005). Herat was one of the first centres in the Iranian world to produce inlaid bronzes, beginning in the late 12th century.

Islamic World
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