Metal Work

Metal Work

Metalworking is one of the many decorative arts that has always been highly prized in the Islamic world. The transformation of an inert metal into a glittering and precious object was a valued process. Islamic metal craftsmen, heirs to the tradition set by the Sassanid and Byzantine civilizations, among others, perpetuated and then reinterpreted these skills. The austere life led by the prophet Muhammad inhibited the use of precious materials by artists, and the amount of gold and silver inlaid in the bronze, brass, and copper articles was always extremely small.

The use of metal objects in Islamic society had important and widespread use: cooking was carried out in metal basins and pans; the houses would have metal fittings on doors and windows; the hands of guests were washed in metal ewers; the literate would have metal pen cases and inkwells; female toiletries included metal-backed mirrors, kohl sticks, cosmetic containers, etc.; horses would be decorated with brass; and in battle it would be a melee of metal on metal.

The impressions gained from collections of Islamic metalwork are that most items are made of brass or bronze decorated with copper, silver, and gold, and that gold and silver vessels as such are very few. This impression is mistaken, for Islamic literature and miniature paintings are replete with descriptions of ornamental luxury silver and gold vessels.
    1. Brassware
      The damascene decorative technique inlays metal into metal to create intricate designs. It takes...View
    1. Ironware
      The arts of Damascene metallurgy have a centuries long history. Syria still produces all kinds of...View
    1. MetalWare Now
      The industry of metalware is one of the Damascene characteristics in Syria and neighboring...View
    1. Metalwork History
      Inlay techniques (Damascene) for a variety of substrates were invented during the Bronze Age...View