Metalwork bag

Court and Craft: A Masterpiece from Northern Iraq

Courtauld Gallery opens up identity of 700 year-old treasure
– The Guardian

20 February – 18 May 2014

This exhibition, held at The Courtauld Gallery from 20 February – 18 May 2014, told the story behind one of the most extraordinary objects in The Courtauld’s collection: a bag made in Northern Iraq around 1300.

No other object of this kind is known.

Inlaid with gold and silver and decorated with a courtly scene showing an enthroned couple as well as musicians, hunters and revellers, it ranks as one of the finest pieces of Islamic metalwork in existence.

The bag was made for a lady in the courtly circles of the Mongol Ilkhanid dynasty, established in west Asia by Genghis Khan’s grandson, Hulagu. This exhibition considered this luxury craft tradition before and after the Mongol invasion.

Court and Craft explored the origin and cultural context of this extraordinary object, alongside displays of illustrated manuscripts, ceramics and other luxury crafts.