ABŪ BAKR B. AḤMAD MARVAZĪ, 7th/13th century metalworker. His work is known through a series of cast bronze cauldrons which bear the signature ʿamal-e Abū Bakr b. Aḥmad Marvazī. Six such cauldrons are known to exist. Two were known to L. A. Mayer (Islamic Metalworkers, p. 24), and four more have been discovered in the Soviet Union. Two are in Daghestan, one in a private collection in Kubachi and the other in the Museum of the Faculty of History, Daghestan State University, Makhachkala; the remaining two are in the Fine Art Museum of the Georgian SSR, Tiflis, and the State Ethnographical Museum of the Peoples of the USSR, Leningrad. The discovery of these and other similar cauldrons in Daghestan gave rise to the theory that they were produced locally. However, subsequent research by L. T. Gyuzal’yan and U. Scerrato has established that cauldrons such as those made by Abū Bakr were produced in Khorasan and then taken to the Caucasus. The Khorasani production is thought to have occurred during the 12th-13th centuries; during the 14th century, cauldrons of a similar sort began to be produced in Daghestan. Although the Daghestani vessels have many similarities to the Khorasani ones, decorative elements and epigraphic features can be used to establish the origin of the individual specimens. For example, inscriptions on Abū Bakr’s cauldrons are in kufic, whereas the Daghestani ones have nasḵ inscriptions.
A. A. Ivanov and R. A. Alikhanov, Iskusstvo Kubachi, Leningrad, 1976, pp. 168, 181-82, 201, 203, figs. 36-38.
A. Khodzhageldiev, “Bronzovye kotly iz yuzhnogo Turkmenistana,” Pamyatniki Turkmenistana, Ashkhabad, 1975, no. 2 (20), pp. 21-23.
Idem, “K voprosu o meste proizvodstva bronzovykh kotlov otkrytogo tipa (Raboty Abu Bakra Akhmada Mervazi),” Tezisy dokladov I-oĭ nauchnoĭ konferentsii molodykh uchenykh Akademii Nauk Turkmenskoĭ SSR posvyashchennoĭ 25-letiyu AN TSSR, Ashkhabad, 1976, pp. 10-11.
L. A. Mayer, Islamic Metalworkers and their Works, Geneva, 1959, p. 24, pl. 2.
U. Scerrato, “Ogetti metallici de età islamica in Afghanistan,” AIUON N.S. 45, 1964, p. 689, figs. 56-57.
A. Sikhsaidov, “Nadpisi na kotlakh iz seleniya Kubachi,” Pyatye krupnovskie chteniya po arkheologii Kavkaza, Makhachkala, 1975, pp. 125-26.
Idem, Nadpisi rasskazyvayut, Makhachkala, 1969, pp. 38-41, pl. 4.
(A. A. Ivanov)
Originally Published: December 15, 1983
Last Updated: July 19, 2011
This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 3, p. 263