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No. 29     Inlaid basin


Inju: probably Shiraz or elsewhere in Fars, 1351–1352
Patron: Mohammad b. Mohammad b. Abdallah al-Jorjani
Maker: Turanshah

Brass inlaid with silver and gold, ground filled with black composition

London, Victoria and Albert Museum, Inv. 760-1889 


Inlay, a celebrated feature of Persian metalwork, is achieved by hammering metals of different colour into prepared slots in the body of a metal object; the inlay is then chased to produce linear details. Here, amidst elaborate scroll work, a frieze contains riders some of whom are from the Shahnameh. The figure on foot is the usurper Zahhak, identifiable by the snakes growing out of his shoulders as the result of the devil’s kiss. He is led by Faridun, his over-thrower, who is riding an ox. The Persian prince Bahram Gur and his harp-playing slave girl Azadeh are also shown. A pair of riders who hold a ring seem to echo scenes of the investiture of kings on Sasanian rock carvings in Fars, the region whose principal city is Shiraz.



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