ʿABD-AL-RAZZĀQ B. MASʿŪD NAYSABŪRĪ, metalworker of the second half of the 6th/12th century. Two bronze objects are known which bear his signature, and these indicate (in agreement with his nesba) a Khorasanian workshop. These are a perfume sprinkler (Berlin, no. I 3565) and an inkwell (MMA, no. 48.108). Both objects are cast. The fluted body of the sprinkler and the cylindrical shape of the inkwell and its cover with a fluted dome are typical products of Khorasan in this period. (The sprinkler’s funnel-shaped neck, a feature characteristic of these flasks, is not preserved.) The following silver and copper-inlaid motifs are further indicators of provenance: 1. A standing, duck-like bird with raised tail (on both objects). 2. A vase with three flower stalks (on the flask), depicted with a heavy, dome-shaped foot. It is pear-shaped, its lower section curving outward strongly, and has a funnel-shaped aperture. This vase is a stylized rendering of vases manufactured in eastern Iran in the 5th-6th/11th-12th centuries. 3. Tulip-like blossoms whose exteriors have small excrescences and whose centers are decorated with a small trefoil. This motif, apparently a local tradition, is also found on 4th-5th/10th-11th century pottery from Nīšāpūr and Transoxania. 4. Seven-disked rosettes (on both objects). 5. Benedictory formulas beginning with al-yomn (“auspiciousness, happiness”). These appear to have been particularly common in Khorasan; the term ceased to be used in later inscriptions. (The flask bears a Persian maxim which had been interpreted, erroneously, as containing a second signature. It was later read by Professor H. W. Duda but remains unpublished [information courtesy of Dr. Johanna Zick-Nissen].) The inkpot (which may be later than the flask) has in its central register three pairs of confronted mounted hunters. These recall in style the frieze of huntsmen on the “Brobinski” bucket from Herat (dated 559/1163, now in Leningrad). The bucket was decorated by a Masʿūd b. Aḥmad, and it is conceivable that ʿAbd-al-Razzāq b. Masʿūd was his son.
L. A. Mayer, Islamic Metalworkers and their Works, Geneva, 1959, p. 23.
On perfume flasks, see U. Scerrato, “Un tipo di spruzzaprofumi in bronzo de epoca selgiuchide,” AION 32, (N.S. 22), 1972, pp. 25-33.
E. Baer, “An Islamic Inkwell in the Metropolitan Museum of Art,” Islamic Art in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1972, pp. 199-211.
For bronze vases with the shape depicted on the flask, see A. S. Melikian-Chirvani, “Les bronzes du Khorasan, 3,” Studia Iranica 4, 1975, pp. 201-03; N. N. Negmatov and S. G. Khmelnitzky, Srednevekovyĭ Shakhristan, Dushanbe , 1966, pp. 177-80; O. Grabar, Persian Art Before and After the Mongol Conquest, Ann Arbor, 1959, no. 25.
For blossoms on Nīšāpūr ceramics, see C. K. Wilkinson, Nishapur: Pottery of the Early Islamic Period, New York, n.d., p. 138, no. 22; p. 330, no. 166; p. 133, nos. 5a, 5b.; p. 365, nos. 2, 3; A. Lane, Early Islamic Pottery, London, 1947, pl. 17 B.
Originally Published: December 15, 1982
Last Updated: July 14, 2011
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Vol. I, Fasc. 2, p. 158