Cloud collar!

Sorry for not posting this sooner, but mundane life has been distracting me from the pure research. So I thought to get everything rolling by posting the product of previous research. Having done research into Persian cloud collars in 2015 (the post can be read at “My own Persian cloud collar research”) and having commissioned two Persian Timurid coats through my friend at Mikhaila’s Unmentionables, I finally followed through with embroidery plans.

I decided to do a collar that sat proud of the coat, but was attached at the neck. First step is to create a template.

The third template design, which can be done up & go around the neck.


Having settled on the template, I used two layers of silk and linen which would eventually be lined with white linen.

This is two layers, sewn quickly together and marked out with a soluble pen.


The design itself is quite complex scrolling. The stitch I chose to work in Au ver a Soie indigo silk thread was stem stitch. I eventually regretted this choice, as it was painful on the hands.

This stage took quite a while to get to. I had given myself a deadline of 12th Night.


The final result-

The collar the night before the event. Still damp from preparations.


I entered it into the Lochac Arts & Sciences competition with the topic of “from the Middle East”. I won!

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.

Four Seljuk rings

seljukring1
This 12th-13th century ring is made of silver and gold with the diametre of 2.5cm.

seljukring1purpleseal

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

seljukring1underside
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.

seljukring3
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.

seljukring4

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.

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.

My own Persian Cloud Collar research

I have been conducting my own research into Persian cloud collars. My work is very much based on other Scadian’s work.

This is just the beginning- I have found over 100 illuminations of cloud collars but have only included two in the article. Very much a work in progress!

Let me know what you think!

cloudcollararticle PDF

A dancer with a Vina

dancerwithavina17thcent This picture is 17th century Persian, although originally found in Turkey. It is a leaf from a manuscript, 11 cm by 19.1 cm. The dancer is holding a vina, which is an Indian instrument. The picture is currently in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Recommended reading about Indian music
Saṅgītaśiromaṇi: A Medieval Handbook of Indian Music edited by Emmie Te Nijenhuis. Via Google Books.

Musical Instruments of the Indian Subcontinent by Allen Roda. Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History.

History of Indian music by P. Sambamoorthy. Via Internet Archive.