Brass inlaid with silver
Overall: 11.5 cm (4 1/2 in.); Diameter: 16.1 cm (6 5/16 in.)
Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1944.485
This cup is the most famous work of Islamic art in the museum.
Known as the Wade Cup, after J. H. Wade who bequeathed the funds for its acquisition, this bowl is the best known Islamic art object in the museum. The rich silver decoration on the exterior of the Iranian bowl is organized into bands and compartments. Climaxing the decorative program is a rare inscription band around the rim with letters formed by human figures, animals, and birds.
The band of animated script around the rim of the cup extends good wishes to the owner. The compartments created by the interlacing bands contain tiny figures of humans and animals. These represent the 12 signs of the zodiac whose signs spring from astrology, the practice of interpreting the influence of planets and stars on earthly affairs.
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