VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Magical-medicinal bowl (tasa al-hadda)
SKAZsz 1441 MNW
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

On account of the high quality elaborated decoration, incising of the letters and engraving the figural and flower motifs, the “Warsaw magical-medicinal bowl” should be recognized as one of the highest achievements of metal crafts developed in Iran under the reigns of the Safavids.

History of the Object
An inscription visible in the sign of Capricorn reveals that the bowl belonged to the semahane of Imam Husayn Hamud. The semahane was a hall of ceremonial rites in the monastery of the Mevlevites. Mme Jadwiga Mrozowska Toeplitz brought this bowl from one of her exploratory travels to Asia.

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Type
Decorative Art 
Materials
Cast in brass, decoration engraved, and incised 
Measurements
Width / Diameter: 22 cm, Height 7,5 cm  
Creator name
Unknown 
Creator date
Unknown 
Where it was made
Iran 
Geography
Iran 
Time period
AD 17th century ~ AD 17th century 
Creation date
Middle of the 17th century, Safavid dynasty reigns 
Function
The hemispherical bowl set on a ring foot, tipped with a flattened rim, also having a small copula (meniscus) in the center of the inner bottom. The whole surface of tasa is covered with Quranic texts in naskhi and nasta’liq scripts deeply incised and coloured in black. Besides these inscriptions the bowl is decorated with the astrological zodiac symbols, images of sun and moon and images of five planets known in the past. These heavenly bodies present the human figures seen or in a specific gesture or owning the proper attributes. We can recognize Jupiter (figure with outstretched arms), Saturn (figure keeping the seven attributes in seven hands), Mars (figure with five arms), Venus (a harpist) and Mercury (scribe). On the outer bottom of the small copula appears the so called magical square filled with the names of God. The basic intended function of the taza al-hadda was to protect people from various supernatural powers and diseases and to ward off demon powers, mainly by means of frightening them away. 
Acquisition
Donated to the museum in 1947 by Jadwiga Mrozowska Toeplitz. 
Copyright
Copyright Ⓒ National Museum in Warsaw 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
National Museum in Warsaw, state property 
Museum
National Museum in Warsaw 
Credit line
Courtesy of the National Museum in Warsaw 

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