Large Old Islamic Iraqi Copper Tray with Samarra Malwiya Minaret - image 1 of 13

Middle East, Iraq, cca mid-20th century (?), possibly slightly earlier. Hammered tinned copper tray with everted rim, with extensive repousse and engraved decoration and suspension loop on back side.

This metal handwork is mainly interesting for its absolutely unique depiction of famous Malwiya Tower in Iraqi city of Samarra (province of Salah ad-Din, north of Baghdad). This sandstone minaret (of 52 meters height) with remarkable spiral pavement around is one of the symbols of the country and belongs to larger UNESCO site (listed in 2007 at the peak of civil war and insurgency against US troops). Built during 9th century as part of Great Mosque by the deeply religious Abbasid caliph Mutawakkil (this name means in Arabic "relying on God"), it stays one of the most admired and depicted monuments of gone era.

It is noteworthy that the assassination of ruler Mutawakkil in 861 AD (by treacherous caliph soldier) led to long period of instability and chaos, also known as "anarchy of Samarra". However we could see modern and bloody analogue of past events, starting in 2006, when bombing of revered Shiite shrine in Samarra sparked off intense bloodshed, which afterwards spawned the darkest period of modern Iraq, bloody events also infamously known as "sectarian war" (mainly between 2006-2008).

Beautiful tray with rare design.

MEASURES: cca 75 cm diam. (cca 30 in).

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Large Old Islamic Iraqi Copper Tray with Samarra Malwiya Minaret


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