Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Incense Burner

Object Name:
Incense burner
late 13th–early 14th century
Attributed to Syria, Damascus
Brass; cast with handle made of separately hammered sheet, pierced, inlaid with silver and gold
H. 8 3/8 in. (21.3 cm) L. 9 1/2 in. (24.1 cm) Diam. 4 in. (10.2 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 453
Damascus was producing luxury‑quality inlaid metalwork by the early thirteenth century. Many of these objects were made by artists trained in the Mosul tradition and share characteristics with Jaziran works, such as the use of the T‑fret background and the Z‑shaped whorl motif. An emphasis on princely imagery, is demonstrated by the formal enthronement scenes depicted here. The inclusion of gold as an inlay material is thought to indicate Damascus manufacture.
Inscription: Arabic; translation: (on upper border) "Permanent glory [and] good fortune". The inscriptions found in the cartouches between the medallions on the body and the top are pseudo-Kufic, and cannot be deciphered.
J. Pierpont Morgan, New York (until d. 1913; his estate 1913–17; gifted to MMA)
Canby, Sheila R. "The Scented World : Incense Burners and Perfume Containers from Spain to Central Asia." Arts of Asia vol. 42 (2012). pp. 125-126, ill. fig. 12 (color).

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