Anatolia (eastern Turkey)
Candlestick, mid- to late 13th century
Bronze, engraved and inlaid with gold and silver
Metalwork has long been a prestigious art form in West Asia, evoking the highest technical and artistic virtuosity from the makers of both secular and religious objects. In the twelfth century Muslim metalworkers in eastern Persia decorated their bronze vessels with engraved animal figures and vegetal ornament and inlaid them with precious metals. Spreading westward during the next century, the inlay technique was used with great skill and imagination in the workshops of Egypt, Iraq, Syria, and eastern Turkey.
The decoration of this candlestick- which revelers, musicians, polo players, and falconers- is typical of much Islamic metalwork, as are the good wishes written in ornamental scripts. On the object's neck is an inscription invoking "long life, auspicious fate, good fortune, and godliness"; on its body is writing that proclaims "divine favor" and "spiritual integrity" in addition to wishes of good fortune.