Islamic Bronze Incense Burner in the Form of a Feline - LO.1324 (LSO), Origin: Central Asia, Circa: 1100 AD to 1200 AD, Dimensions: 13.4" (34.0cm) high x, 11.6" (29.5cm) wide, Collection: Islamic Art, Style: Khurasan, Medium: Bronze, This beautifully made open-work incense burner is an elite interpretation of a form widely spread across Central Asia in the 11th to 12th centuries. While zoomorphic and anthropomorphic representations were forbidden under Islamic religious law, the so-called “principle of improbability” was employed to create animals that were so far removed from reality that they could not be argued to be in any way representational of nature; thus were the strictures avoided. Unlikely animals were created by manipulation of proportions and postures, incorporation of imagined elements (or those taken from other creatures) and flamboyant decoration using floral and abstract geometric motifs. The current piece takes the general form of a cat (either a lion or a lynx) and displays all of these methods in a technical and aesthetic tour de force.
Ancient Near East