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        Ornament

        View this video clip and image gallery from Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World of Islamic art objects related to the theme of ornamentation and consider how they are reflective of Islamic culture. View an incense burner from Spain, a lion doorknocker from Italy, a Timurid tankard from Afghanistan, an ivory casket from Spain, and a velvet curtain from India.

        http://www.islamicart.tv/

        Incense Burner: 9 C. Spain

        This image depicts an incense burner of a bird holding on with strong claws to a perch across a sphere that might have been placed on a tall pedestal. The beautifully shaped head can be lifted to gain access to the inside of the bird. On the back of the bird's head are 33 drop-shaped perforations though which the incense was released.

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        Lion Door Knocker: 11 C. Southern Italy

        This sculptural masterpiece of a door knocker is dominated by a lion's head in whose jaws hangs a combination of a handle and a knocker designed as a ring embellished with a cock. Around the finely stylized mane is a Kufi inscription on a black niello ground. Niello is an alloy of silver, lead, copper, or bismuth sulfides that is ground to a powder and then melted into hollows in the object. The inscription proclaims the Muslim profession of faith: “In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. I testify that there is no god but God and that Muhammad is the messenger of God."

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        Timurid Tankard: 16 C. Afghanistan

        This image depicts a jug from Timurid Iran. The jug contains an inscription under the base which reads: “A work by the impoverished, humble servant Ali ibn Muhammad Ali Shihab al-Ghuri on the first day of the month of Jumada al-akhira in the year 918.” The artist's nisba denotes that he came from the province of Ghur, east of Herat. A number of jugs of this type from Timurid Iran have been preserved, and although there is a slightly earlier jug of jade, the oldest dated metal pieces are from 1456-1457.

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        Carved Ivory Casket: 10 C. Spain

        This image depicts an ivory casket belonging to a little group of masterfully carved ivory objects that were made for the Spanish Umayyad court in the second half of the 10th century. The casket is the largest in the group, carved from a single tusk. The motifs' various hunting scenes are not found in a latticework of medallions, as on the other caskets. Instead, each side is filled out with entirely independent scenes. There was once an Arabic inscription around the lid that is believed to have contained the name of the person for whom the casket was made.

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        Velvet Curtain: 17 C. India

        This velvet curtain contains a monumental depiction of a woman standing in a lobed arch, whose size and non-repetitive pattern make it a unique work. Weavers from Safavid Iran were primarily known for making these technically unparalleled textiles, but the biography of the Great Mughal Akbar from around 1600 suggests the Indians had come equally far in technical skill.

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        Ornament Video

        This clip from "Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World" introduces the relationship of ornamentation, patterns and designs to the Muslim understanding of God and Heaven. Explore the concept of math and geometry in ornamentation, importance of the representation of flora and fauna, as well as the ornamentation on day to day objects and figurative art.

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