A Sogdiana roundel

This textile was from either Eastern Iran or Sogdiana. Dated to the 8th-9th century C.E., it is a woven silk with the dimensions of 34cm by 44 cm. Seam visible on right of textile. Currently at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, although not currently on view.

Very similar roundel to previously posted Sogdian textiles in the post An early period Sogdiana coat.

Recommended reading
Cochineal Red: The Art History of a Color by Elena Phipps. Met publications, 2010. PDF available for download through link.

Costume of the Samarkand Region of Sogdiana between the 2nd/lst Century BCE and the 4th Century CE by Fiona Kidd. Bulletin of the Asia Institute, 2003, page 35-69. Available through Academia.edu.

Ritual and Identity in Sogdiana by Melinda Niekum. Via Academia.edu.

Timurid jade

This jade jug was thought to have been made during the Timurid era in India, the 15th century C.E. It had been carved with the dimensions of 10.1 cm high by 15.1 cm wide and a depth of 13.2 cm and with a Chinese dragon handle, similar to other Timurid handled cups and jugs. It is currently on loan to the Freer and Sackler Museum.

This 15th century jade jug was made specifically for Ulugh Beg in Samarkand. The inscription around the neck gives his titles. Later in the 17th century it was in the treasure collection of the Mughal ruler Jahangir, with his name and titles added to the inscriptions along with his son and heir Shah Jahan. The jug is currently in the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum.

This cup was also made for Ulugh Beg, with an inscription bearing his name next to another saying

The generosity of God is infinite.

Also made in Samarkand, the cup is 7.3 cm high, 19.5 cm wide with a depth of 12.4 cm. There is a repair made in silver done during Ottoman times. The cup is currently in the British Museum. More views can be also be seen.

Recommended reading
Jade– Encyclopedia Iranica.

BBC- History of the World: Jade dragon cup.

Only the Best: Masterpieces of the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum– edited by Baetjer, K. & Draper, J.D., Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2000.

Masterpieces from the Department of Islamic Art in the Metropolitan Museum– edited by Ekhtiar, M., Soucek, P., Canby, S., & Haidar, N., Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2011.

Jade edited by Roger Keverne, Anness Publishing Ltd, New York, 1991.

Sasanian dancers in silver

This silver ewer was made between the 6th-7th century C.E. in Iran, or Sasanian ruled Persia. Many ewers of this time period were pear shaped, and gilt with gold. The dancers on the ewer have symbolic meaning, dancing with cups and grapes, representing the cult of Dionysus, the Roman cult which spread over the Mediterranean and Middle East. The size of the ewer is 35.5 cm by 16.9 cm by 14 cm. The item is currently in the Freer and Sackler Museum, Accession number S1987.117.

This vase is also pear shaped silver with gilt gold. There are four dancers appearing on it, one with fruit and a falcon, another with a cup and a dog by her side, the third with a staff covered in vines or ivy. Repeated is the symbolism of the Dionysian cult, but also the symbolism of the cult of Anahita. The measurements are 15.24 cm (height) by 10.8 cm (diametre) by 5.4 cm (base). It is currently in the Los Angeles Museum of Art, Acession number AC1992.152.82.

This silver bowl, gilt with gold is decorated on the outside with three dancers and three musicians.
The animal on the base is a combination of boar and The Simurgh, which is tied back to the Zoroastrian belief of Verethragna. The bowl was sold by The Saleroom in 2015.

Four Seljuk rings

This 12th-13th century ring is made of silver and gold with the diametre of 2.5cm.


There is a carved seal of purple stone and a calligraphic niello design on the under side.

The inscription on the seal reads-

“bi’llah yathiq ‘ali”

which in English means “Ali puts his trust in God”. The second inscription around the bezel reads-

“al-‘izz al-da/’im wa al-i/qbal al/ al-baqa”

which in English translates to “Perpetual Glory, Prosperity, and Long-life.” The final inscription has not been translated. The ring was sold by Sotheby’s for 27,500 GBP.

seljukring2 This 12th-13th century ring of gold has a bezel decorated with two birds, inside a cartouche surrounded by arabesques and human figures holding up pseudo claw settings. The ring is 1.7 cm high. Sold by Christie’s for 2,115 GBP.

This 12th-13th century gold ring is decorated in a hexagonal shape with niello in a curling arabesque design and a calligraphic inscription that reads-

“Abu Bakr Musa”

who was the owner of the ring. The band of the ring has harpies and palmettes. It is 1.9 cm high. It was sold by Bonhams for 1,800 GBP.


This high stirrup ring is 9th-11th century silver, with a high raised bezel setting with an amethyst. There is a calligraphic kufic inscription which reads in English-

“Blessing to Hasan”

who is the owner of the ring. It is 3.8cm high. It had been passed in at Bonhams.

Buyid embroideries

largebuyidembroideredcloth11thcent This textile was made in either Iran or Iraq in the 11th century, under the Buyids. It is 31.5 cm by 40.5 cm and the base fabric is mulham (silk warp and cotton weft fabric) tabby woven with silk and gold thread embroidery. It has two tiraz inscriptions, which read (on the top)-

“. . . command and glory and power and good fortune and . . . peace and command and command [one word garbled].”

with the text on the bottom-

“. . . [the Compassionat]te [?]. Praise be to God, Lord of the worlds and the wor[lds?].”

The textile is in the Cleveland Museum of Art, accession number 1938.300.

buyidembroidery11thcent Also thought to have been made in the 11th century in either Iran or Iraq, this textile is 40 cm by 26 cm. Also mulham ground fabric embroidered in silk and gold wrapped thread, with roundels of birds and animals. There is a tiraz at the bottom, but no translation is available. It is currently in the Cleveland Museum of Art accession number 1952.257.

Four Seljuk embroideries in the Cleveland Museum of Art

12thcentseljuktiraz This textile was thought to have been made in either Iran or Iraq during the time of the Seljuk Empire. The base fabric is mulham (silk warp thread with cotton weft thread) woven into a tabby or plain weave. The embroidery is a tiraz, sewn in silk and gold metal thread with the dimensions being 6cm high and 19.7cm wide. The textile’s accession number is 1950.560.

seljuk12thcentembroidery This textile was thought to have been made in the 12th century in either Iraq or Iran. Like the previous textile, it is also mulham tabby weave embroidered with silk and gold metal thread. The dimensions are 14.6cm high and 8cm wide. This textile’s accession number is 1950.561.

seljuk12thcentroundelembroidery This textile is also like the other textiles- mulham tabby weave with silk and gold metal embroidery from the 12th century. The dimensions are 7cm high and 23.5cm wide in a roundel design with a bird in the centre. The accession number is 1950.562 with another view of the textile available on the page.

12thcentseljukbirdembroidery This textile is the same as the previous- mulham tabby weave with silk and gold metal embroidery. The dimensions are 7.3cm high and 21.6 cm wide. The accession number is 1950.533 with another view of the textile available on the site.

Recommended Reading
Ars Islamica, Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Press, 1934. Via the Internet Archive.

Ancient Silk Textiles in the Land of Israel by Shamir O. and Baginski A. in Resist Dye on the Silk road: Shibori, Clamp Resist and Ikat. Proceeding of the 9th International Shibori Symposium in Hangzhou, China. Pp. 25-31. Via Academia.edu.

Tiraz: Textiles and Dress with Inscriptions in Central and Southwest Asia by Margaret Anne Deppe. PDF file.

The citadel and old city of Bam, Iran

BAM_IR2726 Taken from Wikimedia Commons.

The citadel and old city of Bam in Iran has been inhabited since the time of the Parthian Empire, which was between 247 B.C.E to 224 C.E. However, the city became an important stop on the silk and cotton trade route, specialising in garments sewn from the imported textiles during the 7th to 11th century C.E.

Bam has been placed on the UNESCO World Heritage list as being one of the best fortified city and citadel built with layers of mud and mud bricks. It is also an oasis area of the Kerman Province with underground irrigation pipes that can be dated from the time of original settlement.

Unfortunately in 2003 there was a major earthquake that severely damaged the old city and citadel.
Destruction_of_the_Bam_Citadel Taken from Wikimedia Commons.

Since 2004 UNESCO and the Iranian Government have had a reconstruction plan in place to rebuild the city using traditional techniques with only a few modern additions.