Metal Work

Medieval Islamic metalwork offers a complete contrast to the European art, which is dominated by modelled figures and brightly colored decoration in enamel. In contrast, Islamic metalwork consists of practical objects, with elegant surfaces, which are decorated with dense Arabesque patterns. The work consists of particular colours such as gold, silver and copper. Household items, such as ewers or water pitchers, were made of one or more pieces of brass sheet soldered together and subsequently worked and inlaid.

Drinking and eating vessels were ideally produced in gold and silver in the ancient Roman, Persian and medieval Christian societies, though most Muslim artisans used brass, bronze, tin and steel. Commonly seen are bowls, dishes, candlesticks, lamp-stands, lantern lights, basins, buckets, pen-cases and plaques. Ewers and basins were traditionally brought for hand washing before and after each meal, so are often common yet lavishly treated display pieces. Specialised objects also bore traditional Islamic patterns include knives, weapon, armour and scientific instruments such as astrolabes as well as jewellery. Decoration is typically densely packed in these items and very often includes arabesques and calligraphy.