Historical period(s)
Buyid period, 966-977
H x Diam: 16 x 9.4 cm (6 5/16 x 3 11/16 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Freer Gallery 21a: Feast Your Eyes: A Taste for Luxury in Ancient Iran
Metalwork, Vessel


Buyid period (932 - 1062), chasing, engraving, Iran, kufic script, punching, repousse, WWII-era provenance
Provenance information is currently unavailable

Gold and silver objects from the medieval Islamic world are extremely rare. Like many religions, Islam disapproved of trappings of wealth, even if members of the elite largely ignored this religious objection. During times of hardship, moreover, objects made from precious materials were often melted down. On the basis of its rarity and remarkable condition some scholars have questioned the authenticity of this gold jug. While the jug's handle seems to be a later addition, its shape and decorative motifs relate to other tenth-century objects found in excavations. Its inscription, too, appears to be genuine and refers to the Buyid dynasty ruler Izz al-Dawla Bakhtiyar ibn Mu'izz al-Dawla (reigned 967-78).

Published References
  • Smithsonian Institution. Annual Report of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution, 1942-1943. Washington. pl. 1.
  • O. Graber. The Formation of Islamic Art. New Haven. pl. 116.
  • The Encyclopedia of World Art. 17 vols., New York, 1959-1968. pl. 280.
  • Sheila Blair, Jonathan M. Bloom, Anne E. Wardwell. Re-evaluating the Date of the "Buyid Silks" by Epigraphic and Radiocarbon Analysis. vol. 22 Washington and Ann Arbor. p. 5.
  • Gaston Migeon. Les Arts Plastiques et Industriels. Manuel d'Art Musulman, pt. 2 Paris. pp. 12-14, fig. 216.
  • Eva Baer. Sphinxes and Harpies in Medieval Islamic Art: An Iconographical Study. Oriental Notes and Studies, no. 9 Jerusalem. p. 13.
  • Dr. Esin Atil. Exhibition of 2500 Years of Persian Art. Exh. cat. Washington, 1971. cat. 52, pp. 13-14, 16.
  • Saad al-Jadir. Arab and Islamic Silver. London. p. 14.
  • Umberto Scerrato. Metalli Islamici. Elite: le arti e gli stili in ogni tempo e paese Milano. p. 19.
  • Ernst Grube. The World of Islam. Landmarks of the World's Art London. p. 20, pl. 5.
  • Marianna Shreve Simpson. L'Art Islamique: Asiae, Iran, Afgahanistan, Asia Centrale et Inde. La Grammaire des Styles Paris, 1956-1958. pp. 32-33.
  • Rachel Ward. Islamic Metalwork. Eastern Art Series London. pp. 52-53, fig. 35.
  • Volkmar Enderlein. Islamische Kunst. Dresden. p. 74.
  • Luke Treadwell. Craftsmen and Coins: signed dies in the Iranian world. 423, Vienna. p. 82, fig. 58b.
  • Glenn D. Lowry. On the Gold Jug Inscribed to Abu Mansur al-Amir Bakhtiyar Ibu Mu'izz al'Dawla in the Freer Gallery of Art. no. 19 Washington and Ann Arbor. pp. 103-112.
  • Richard Ettinghausen. The Arts of Iran at the Time of Avicenna: Société iranienne pour la conservation des monuments nationaux. vol. 4, Tehran. pp. 132-138, fig. 6.
  • Gaston Wiet. L'Exposition Persane de 1931. Exh. cat. Cairo, 1932-1933. pp. 137-138.
  • The Arts of Persia. New Haven and London. pp. 185-186, fig. 30.
  • Eva Baer. Metalwork in Medieval Islamic Art. Albany. pp. 211, 286, fig. 229.
  • Ernst Diez. Iranische Kunst. Wien. p. 225.
  • Dr. Esin Atil, W. Thomas Chase, Paul Jett. Islamic Metalwork in the Freer Gallery of Art. Washington, 1985. p. 266.
  • Larry Ball. 30,000 Years of Art: The Story of Human Creativity Across Time and Space. London and New York, 2007. p. 492.
  • Richard Ettinghausen. Islamic Art and Archaeology: Collected Papers. Berlin. pp. 892-913.
  • Richard Ettinghausen Ernst Kuhnel. A Survey of Persian Art from Prehistoric Times to the Present. 6 vols., London and New York, 1938 - 1939. p. 2504, fig.830, pl.1343.
Collection Area(s)
Arts of the Islamic World
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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