Bobrinski Bucket

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The Bobrinski bucket, now in the collection of the State Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia

The Bobrinski Bucket, also called a kettle or cauldron, is a 12th-century bronze bucket originally manufactured for a merchant in Herat in 1163 out of bronze with copper and silver inlaid decorations. It provides one of the earliest examples of Persian anthropomorphic calligraphy.[1][2] It is named after a former owner, Count Bobrinsky, and is now in the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg.[1][2]

Inscription and decoration[edit]

The decoration of the bucket is done with copper and silver inlay. In this process patterns are created by embedding a different material onto the surface of the object. The bucket features alternating bands of calligraphy and pictorial scenes. The inscriptions, written in Arabic, are of general well wishes.[1] In the pictorial scenes there is no visual hierarchy. The figures within each band are of the same size and detail. The first register is an inscription in anthropomorphic Naskh script with the tops of the letters having a human form.[3] The second register shows pictorial scenes of entertainment, followed by a band of inscription in interlaced Kufic script. Following that are depictions of men on horseback, playing polo and hunting. In the next band of inscription animals are interwoven in the calligraphy "as if these letters were trees in a wood".[1] The last band shows hares, antelopes and dogs running in file.[3]

Datation and attribution[edit]

A rather similar bucket with roundels and signs of the Zodiac, 12th century Iran.[4]

The Bobrinski Bucket is the only known inlaid metal object with inscription which can be attributed to Herat with certainty, together with a remarkable ewer of the Ghurid Empire period, inscribed as being manufactured in Herat and dating to 1181-1282, and which is part of a large number of similar ewers, assumed to be from the same place and time period.[5]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Ettinghausen, Richard (1943). "The Bobrinski "Kettle": Patron and Style of an Islamic Bronze". Gazette des Beaux-Arts. 24: 194.
  2. ^ a b "Cauldron". Hermitage Museum. Archived from the original on 2021-04-10.
  3. ^ a b "The Brobinski Bucket - Khamseem". Khamseem Islamic Art History Online (video).
  4. ^ Court and Cosmos: The Great Age of the Seljuqs. Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2016. p. 108.
  5. ^ Canby, Sheila R.; Beyazit, Deniz; Rugiadi, Martina; Peacock, A. C. S. (27 April 2016). Court and Cosmos: The Great Age of the Seljuqs. Metropolitan Museum of Art. p. 155-156, item 85. ISBN 978-1-58839-589-4.