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Utensil in the form of a bird

Unknown8th century

Pergamonmuseum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Pergamonmuseum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Aquamanile (ewer) of cast copper alloy, blackened and with engraved and embellished ornamentation. The aquamanile or ewer, is in the form of a large raptor, presumably an eagle. Its head, wings and tail feathers are sculpted and the feathers are engraved with a scaled pattern. On its breast and on both wings are large turning rosettes which were once silver-embellished. On the transition to the neck are three half rosettes and the attachments for a chain. The feathers of the bird are rendered in a scale-like pattern of which the edges were once embellished with copper with a silver point at their middles. The top side of the neck and also the entire surface of the body is engraved with larger and smaller interwoven medallions in which flowers, rosettes, rabbits, other four-legged animals, and a variety of birds are depicted. The remaining surfaces are covered with leafy vines which are strongly reminiscent of the plaster friezes found at Samara (Iraq) and Raqqa (Syria). On the bird’s back is a handle in the form of an animal about to spring. The front legs stand on an animal’s head; its own head is missing. On the head of the eagle is a hole for filling the ewer. Another opening is on its underbelly and is closed with a lid. Four small holes have been bored: through the breast, over the beak and in the ears. Fluids could be poured from the beak. A leg is missing and in the left wing is a large hole. Aquamaniles of this type are rare in Islamic art. They were reserved for service at the highest courts.

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  • Title: Utensil in the form of a bird
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 8th century
  • Location: Iran
  • Physical Dimensions: w35 x h34 cm
  • Type: Incense burner
  • Medium: Bronze, engrave
  • Inv. no.: I. 5623
  • ISIL no.: DE-MUS-814517
  • External link: Pergamonmuseum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
  • Copyrights: Photo © bpk - Photo Agency / Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz / Jürgen Liepe || Text © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz
  • Collection: Museum für Islamische Kunst, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz

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