Islamic Bronze Incense Burner
Period: ca. 11th Century A.D.
Dimensions: Height: 27 cm, Length: 27 cm
American Art market
This cast bronze incense burner is a fine example of the stylized animal statues typical of the Islamic art. The object, in the shape of a feline, either a lion or a lynx, is made of two distinct elements: the body, used as a recipient for the perfume,and the head, as the cover which was attached by a hinge on the animal’s chest. The whole piece is in openwork shaped as floral patterns. The round head is especially finely decorated with highly stylized incisions to render features such as the mane, the eyelashes and the muzzle. If the subject of the lion is originally Christian, this type of animal figures obeys to the Muslim esthetics, in which representations of living beings were forbidden. By using the “principle of improbability”, the artist clearly shows that his aim is not to imitate the living beings to make his work licit.
Phoenix Ancient Art: Les Animaux dans L’Antiquité, March 2004, number 91
K. VON FOLSACH, Islamic Art, The David Collection, Copenhagen, 1990, p. 182ff, pl. 308.
H. SABAH AL-SALIM AL-SABAH, Masterpieces of Islamic Art, Dâr Al âthar al Islâmiyyah, Kuwait, 1990, p. 13, pl. 8.
V. LOUKONNE/ A. IVANOV, L’Art Persan, Saint-Petersbourg, 1995, p. cat. No. 100 and 101.
About Islamic Art:
A.PAPADOPOULO, L’Islam et l’Art Musulman, Ed. Citadelles & Mazenod, Paris 1976, p. 193, pl. 410-411