Islamic Metalwork - The Courtauld Institute of Art

Islamic Metalwork

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Islamic Metalwork

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The Courtauld Gallery’s small collection of Islamic metalwork contains some of the finest examples of this intricate and refined craft. Inlaid brassware objects made in present day Turkey, Iran and Iraq, were highly sought luxury commodities across the Mediterranean and further afield, with European agents travelling to the middle east to buy huge amounts of these wares for prestigious clients in Italy and elsewhere. The most spectacular piece in the collection is the Courtauld Metal Bag made in Mosul (present day northern Iraq) for a noble lady of the Mongol court around 1300 -1330. It is one of the most splendid pieces of Islamic metalwork in the world, and its shape and function make it a unique object. Other highlights of this collection are the bowl-shaped box signed by the craftsman Mahmud the Kurd and the bucket made by Zain al-Din – among the few known craftsmen of the period. The metalwork collection was put together by the Victorian Thomas Gambier-Parry (1816-1888) to complement his acquisitions of medieval and early Renaissance paintings and decorative arts.

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