Kitabchi (died 1976), Iran and Lausanne, Switzerland 
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Mrs. Susanne Vallabh, Nyon, Switzerland through Hamid Atighetchi, London, in 1997 
 According to Curatorial Note 3, Massumeh Farhad, July 7, 1997, in the object record.
 See note 1.
- Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)
Mrs. Susanne Vallabh
Kitabchi died 1976
The plaque is long and broad and bears an openwork decoration consisting of an inscription surrounded by a vine motif. A plain border 8 mm wide forms the edge of the plaque. A small fragment of gilding is present at one end of the border; the gilding was attached by mechanical means and was applied to a surface scored with crosshatching. The crosshatching runs along most of the outer perimeter of the border, extending in a few millimeters from the edge; this feature suggests that the border once had a gilded edge. The front surface is mottled silver and brown color; the back surface is uniformly dark brown.
1. (Massumeh Farhad, 7 July 1997) The inscription reads as follows: "And of him of the military and the proof, that stands by the truth." In Arabic: "...vand al askary va hojatah al qa'em ba."
In seventeenth-century Iran, artists used steel not only for arms and armor, but also to create intricate decorative elements. This finely cut plaque is one from a series of ten intended to decorate the entrance of a tomb or commemorative structure. Crisply outlined, the inscription is written in an elegant thuluth script and juxtaposed against a delicate floral scroll. The plaque refers to the twelfth and last imam of Shi'ism, the official religion of Iran, as a warrior and defender of the truth. Known as the Mahdi (Savior), he is believed to return on the day of judgment.
- Published References
- Thomas Lawton, Thomas W. Lentz. Beyond the Legacy: Anniversary Acquisitions for the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. vol. 1 Washington, 1998. pp. 154-155.
- Collection Area(s)
- Arts of the Islamic World
- Web Resources
- Google Cultural Institute
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