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Home > Auctions > 25th May 2021 > Islamic Inlaid Mace Head with Qur'anic Verses

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LOT 0278

GBP (£) 6,000 - 8,000
EUR (€) 6,980 - 9,300
USD ($) 8,420 - 11,220

Opening Bid
£5,400 (EUR 6,278; USD 7,574) (+bp*)

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Islamic Inlaid Mace Head with Qur'anic Verses

12th century AD

A bronze fluted mace head with eight flanges and collared socket, four flanges engraved with Kufic inscriptions, alternating with four flanges engraved with a bird encircled by a floral sprig and flanked by guilloche and foliate motifs, the domed finial with similar shallow ornamentation, the socket with Qur'anic inscriptions and floriate motifs. 815 grams, 19cm (8 1/2''). Very fine condition.

Property of a London collector; from her family's private collection; formerly with a London gallery; acquired in the 1990s; accompanied by an archaeological expertise by Dr. Raffaele D’Amato; this lot has been checked against the Interpol Database of stolen works of art and is accompanied by AIAD certificate number no.10303-168917.

See Nicolle, D., The military technology of classical Islam, volumes I-III, Edinburgh, 1981; see Nicolle, D., Armies of the Caliphates 862-1098, London, 1998; see Nicolle, D., Arms and Armour of the Crusading Era, 1050-1350, vol. II, London, 1999; see Bashir, M., The Art of the Muslim Knight, The Furusiyya Art Foundation collection, Milan, 2008; for a comparable specimen see a miniature or symbolic bronze mace head from Iran, 12th-13th century AD, at the Museum of Islamic Art of Cairo (Nicolle, 1999, fig.665, inv.15207), and various examples from the Sāmānid and Saljūk period dated between 10th-12th century, (one in the archaeological Museum of Teheran, 12th century, from Nishāpūr, see Nicolle, 1999, p.263 n.666; the others in the Furusiyya Art Foundation Collection, see Bashir, 2008, pp.246ff, nn.231-234).

Mace heads such as this one may have been the laṭṭ described in the written sources (Nicolle, 1998, p.46). A mace head of this type with embryonic flanges could be among those Niẓām Al Mulk described as in use by Turkish slave warriors at the Sāmānid Court, and excavated at Nishāpūr. Later winged or flanged maces could have evolved from this relatively simple polygonal type. Although this specimen is in bronze, many such weapons were likely produced in iron.