Incense burner

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made in Mesopotamia

Postcard of Incense burner.
© National Museums Scotland

Incense burner

This bronze incense burner was made in Mesopotamia (in present-day Iraq) in the 13th century.

The incense burner has a cylindrical body on three small feet and a pierced domical knobbed cover. The body is engraved with Christian figure subjects and arabesques between borders of interlaced work. There is an Arabic inscription on the cover, which translates as 'Enduring power and full life, continuous well-being, happiness to its owner.' Originally this incense burner was richly inlaid with silver. Today only traces remain.

Incense burners of this particular shape seem to have been made first in Mosul, in northern Iraq, at around the beginning of the 13th century. Later examples were made in western Iran, Syria and Egypt.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-180-002-205-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0504: National Museums Scotland Part 2
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  A.1956.518
Date: 13th century
13th century AD
Material: Bronze. Inscription: Al-'izz al-da'im wa'l 'amr al-salim wa'l-iqbal al-za'id al-jadd li-sahibihi
Dimensions: 6.50" H
Where: Mesopotamia
Middle East, Iraq
Description: Incense burner of bronze with a cylindrical body on three small feet, engraved on the body are figure subjects, arabesques between interlaced work and Arabic inscription: Mesopotamia, 13th century
  • Baer, Eva Ayyubid Metalwork with Christian Images, Leiden and New York, 1989 
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