The Islamic artistic tradition is noted for its longstanding interest in the interplay of geometric and abstract floral designs. The integration of these elements is expressed elegantly and imaginatively in this exquisite gold jewelry ornament, the product of an eleventh-century Iranian craftsman. Its concentric design, featuring a band of six-petaled rosettes set against a dense background of scrolling S-curves, is executed in a combination of filigree and granulation, two decorative techniques inherited from the craft traditions of the ancient Near East. Originally inlaid with precious stones, the Cincinnati roundel probably served as a decorative appliqué sewn onto an article of clothing.

A roundel of identical proportions in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, precisely matches the Cincinnati attachment. The two pieces were almost certainly produced in the same workshop.


  • Title: Roundel
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 11th century
  • Location: Iran
  • Location Created: Iran
  • Physical Dimensions: Diam. 3 in. (7.6 cm)
  • Credit Line: Gift of John J. Emery
  • Accession Number: 1961.289
  • Type: Gold/Jewelry
  • Medium: Gold sheet, wire, formerly set with stones

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