This cartouche‑shaped plaque was created from a single sheet of solid steel, whose wide, flat border encloses a hemistich referring to Fatima and her sons. The text is part of a versification of the names of the chahardah ma'sum, or the fourteen infallible ones (the Prophet, Fatima, and the twelve imams). Such plaques, which served both a decorative and invocative function, were often set in the doors of shrines, mosques, and theological schools.
Inscription: Inscription in Arabic in thuluth script:
و بزهراء بتول و باُم ولدتها
And by Zahra’ the Immaculate One and the Mother who bore her
بنبي عربي و رسول مدني و اخيه اسد الله مسمي بعلي
و بزهراء بتول و باُم ولدتها و بسبطيه هما نجل و زكي
و بالسجاد و بالباقر و الصادق حقاً و بموسي و علي و تقي و نقي
و بذي العسكر الحجة القائم بالحق الذي يضرب بالسيف بحكم ازلي
Sir Charles Marling, England (early 1900s–at least 1931); Marling family, England, by descent (until 1987); [ Ahuan U.K., Ltd., 1987; sold to MMA]
London. Burlington House. "International Exhibition of Persian Art," January 7, 1931–February 28, 1931, nos. 317, 318.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Balcony Calligraphy Exhibition," June 1, 2009–October 26, 2009, no catalogue.
Wilson, Arnold T. "7th January to 28th February, 1931." In Catalogue of the International Exhibition of Persian Art. 3rd. ed. London: Royal Academy of Arts, 1931. no. nos. 317, 318, p. 178.
Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin vol. 44 (1986–1987). p. 11, ill. (b/w).
Schimmel, Annemarie. "Islamic Calligraphy." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin vol. (Summer 1992). pp. 44, 46, ill. fig. 55 (b/w).
Ekhtiar, Maryam, Sheila R. Canby, Navina Haidar, and Priscilla P. Soucek, ed. Masterpieces from the Department of Islamic Art in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1st ed. ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2011. no. 166, pp. 241-242, ill. p. 241 (color).