cais1.gif (153930 bytes)

CAIS Persian Text.gif (34162 bytes)


The Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies

 Persian Section.PNG (9914 bytes)


About CAIS


Daily News

News Archive


CAIS Seminars

Image Library





Contact Us


Facebook-Button.jpg (107165 bytes)

.Bronze Ewers of Craftsman Ahmad1


By: Jangar Ya. Ilyasov


More than 30 years ago, B.I. Marshak published his article "Bronze ewer from Samarqand"2. In this article, in a broad historical and cultural context, he analysed types of ewers, which are known from findings in Khorasan and Mavera al-Nahr. He also mentioned the group of so-called craftsman Ahmad's ewers, to which my article is dedicated.

B.I. Marshak wrote about 9 ewers, which are part of the series. In his opinion, they were manufactured in Mavera al-Nahr, but were hardly all made by one craftsman: "Apparently, Ahmad, who has created a new shape in the stagnant epoch, became very famous and different craftsmen put his name on their articles"3.

In connection with some single findings N.N. Negmatov and V.L. Voronina also wrote about Ahmad's ewers4. E. Baer has mentioned some of them in the book on metalwork in medieval Islamic art5. The present author wrote about Ahmad's ewers in his reports on discovery of Budrach hoard6. M. Bernus-Taylor has mentioned these ewers in her article about metalwork of Eastern Khorasan and Mavera al-Nahr in the 8th - 16th centuries7.

It should be noted that the first investigator, who paid special attention to Ahmad's ewers in general was A.A. Ivanov. He picked them out to a separate group and bound them - because of the place where they were found and bought - with Mavera al-Nahr. Originally 88 and then 169 ewers were mentioned. And in publication of the year 1998 A.A. Ivanov wrote that he registered 22 ewers and 1 fragment10. Unfortunately, he did not list them. Today, 28 vessels of given group are known to me. Without doubt that my list basically coincides with Ivanov's information, I adduce it to make the picture more complete.

1-3. Three ewers from former F.R. Martin's collection11. Two of them were bought in Tashkent; they are without handles and lids (pl. I: 1, 2). One of these vessels has no decoration (pl. I: 1). Another one has a decoration: horizontal "brackets" engraved on the neck and a belt of ornament that girdles body at its widest part (such disposition of ornament is typical for the whole series of ornamented ewers). The decoration consists of 2 rows of cavities (impressed circles), that are surrounded by engraved lines with diametrical ribs (pl. I: 2). The third ewer whose body has remained without the upper part of its neck and a handle, has an analogues ornament to the previous one (pl. I: 3). Furthermore, on picture in the publication of the year 1897 one can discern that there is a decoration in form of a medallion with a cavity in the centre on the body of the latter ewer12. The present storage place of these vessels is unknown to me.

4. Ewer from collection of Hermitage, bought in the year 1936 in Central Asia13. On the body there is an engraved inscription with the Kufic script amali ahmad, i. e. "Ahmad's work" (or "made by Ahmad"), that is disposed vertically; such disposition and Kufic script are characteristic for the group on the whole.

5. Ewer found in 1959 at the archaeological site Akhsikath in Farghana Valley as a part of hoard14. Its handle has remained. It has a decoration - two rows of cavities (which are similar to the decoration of 2 ewers from Martin's collection) and the inscription "Ahmad's work" (pl. I: 4).

6. Ewer found as a part of the hoard of bronze wares at Qal'a-i Qakhqakha III in Northern Tajikistan in 196115. Its handle has remained. This ewer has a decoration in form of a belt of ornament in the middle of its body. Interlaced ellipses ("knot of Solomon"), rosettes, cavities, bird figurine surrounded by floral sprouts alternate in this strip. Over it there is a medallion with a cavity in the middle that is crowned with a palmette. On the neck there is an alternation of plain facets and facets filled with engraved floral ornament. There is a Kufic inscription "Ahmad's work" (pl. II: 1).

7. Ewer found at Chil-Dukhtaron, not far from Qal'a-i Qakhqakha16. Its lid and handle are absent; engraved "brackets" on the neck (pl. II: 2).

8. Ewer from collection of the Museum für Islamische Kunst in Berlin (Inv. No. I.85/63), bought in 1963 in Cairo17. Handle has remained. A stylized> Kufic inscription (better to say, pseudo-inscription) combining with a floral motif forms the belt of decoration (pl. II: 3).

9. Ewer from the hoard in Ketmen-tube (Kyrghyzstan), found in 1964 or 1965 (there is different information in publications)18. Its body is plain; inscription "Ahmad's work" on it. The lid and handle are absent (pl. II: 4).

10-12. Three ewers from collection of Museum of Regional Studies in Osh, found in Osh (Kyrghyzstan)19. Two of them have the inscription "Ahmad's work".

13. Fragments of ewer, found at the site Lyagman (South Tajikistan) in 1968 (pl. III: 1)20.

14. Fragmented ewer found in 1973 at the site Yaryk-depe 2 in district Takhta-Bazar in South-eastern Turkmenistan21. According to authors, there is a Kufic inscription amal "work". Relief decoration represents an alternation of cavities and "knots of Solomon" (pl. III: 2).

15-16. Two ewers from a private collection, acquired, according to E. Baer, in Ghazna (Afghanistan)22. One of them has the inscription "Ahmad's work", decoration in form of an ornamental belt with alternating cavities and "knots of Solomon". Over the belt there is a medallion with a cavity. Handle has remained (pl. III: 3).

17. Ewer, which was formerly in collection of the Museum of History of Nations of Uzbekistan (Inv. No. 188/9). Now transferred to State Museum of History of Timurides (Tashkent).

18-20. Three fragmented ewers from the hoard of bronze wares, found by the author at Budrach archaeological site (medieval Chaghaniyan) in 198723 (pl. IV: 1-3). There is inscription "Ahmad's work" on one of them and a handle (pl. IV: 1). Another vessel has remained its lid (pl. IV: 2). Ornamental belt with alternation of cavities and "knots of Solomon" is characteristic for all three ewers; on one of the ewers has remained a medallion with cavity and palmette. By the script and decoration this ewer (pl. IV: 1) is very close to the vessel published by E. Baer (pl. III: 3).

21. Ewer found as a part of the hoard in Hetian (Xinjiang, China) in 1989. Judging to a low-quality picture in the publication24, its decoration consists of a double row of cavities. Handle has remained (pl. III: 4).

22. Ewer from Manfred Bumiller's collection (Bamberg), bought in Kabul in 1986 (Inv. No. BC-466). A schematic drawing is published25. Handle and lid are absent. There is inscription "Ahmad's work". Figurines bearing no relation to the ewer are soldered on the plain body without decoration (pl. V: 1).

23. The second ewer from Bumiller-Collection, also bought in Kabul (Inv. No. BC-2368). Handle and lid are absent; spout is broken off. On its body there is a horizontal belt of decoration, on which cavities, circles with point and "knots of Solomon" alternate. In the middle of the body over the ornamental belt there is an engraved medallion crowned with palmette (pl. V: 2).

24. Ewer whose present location is unknown to me. In 1997, 1998 and 2001 it was exhibited for sale at three auctions26. Authentic lid and handle have not remained. Kufic inscription "Abu (?) Ahmad's work". The horizontal ornamental belt on its body consists of pairs of cavities, alternating with "knots of Solomon". In the middle of the body, over the belt, there is a medallion with a palmette (pl. IV: 4).

25-26. Two ewers found in 1998 during the excavations of a building at the ancient site Talgar in Southern Kazakhstan have an incomplete upper part; handles and lids are absent. After the short description in publication, they are decorated with a convex ornament in form of pearls and engraved inscriptions with names of craftsmen thaat are disposed vertically. Reading of the names is not adduced, there are also no onformation about sizes of the vessels. And after the illustration, one of the ewers has a plain body (No. 25) and the second one is with an ornamental belt (No. 26)27.

27. The third ewer from Bumiller-Collection (Bamberg). Bought in London (Inv. No. BC-3278). Lid, bottom and authentic handle have not preserved, latter is replaced by a handle that does not concern to ewers of present type. The spout is decorated with engraved pattern in form of a three-cornered curved figure with volutes. On the body there is an inscription with Kufic script with three corned tops of letters: "Blessing to owner" (pl. V: 3).

28. Ewer exhibited for sale at Christie's auction in 199428. No decoration; handle is authentic; lid is absent (pl. V: 4). Present location is unknown to me.

The most typical indication of the group of cast ewers being investigated is, of course, their very distinctive form: pear-shaped body, tall faceted neck, spherical upper part with hinges for fastening the lid and big beak-shaped spout. Some specialists see here the result of artificial blending of forms of an oil-lamp and a vase29. Another characteristic indication is that at list 10 of 28 vessels are signed by craftsman Ahmad (Abu Ahmad, i. e. father of Ahmad in one case). A part of vessels are practically unornamented (No. 1, 4, 7, 9-12, 17, 22, 25, 27, 28>), the rest of them have an ornamental belt that goes along the middle of the body and almost always includes cavities and "knots of Solomon". Often there is a medallion, located on the upper part of the body under spout. Characteristic is also the form of the cast handle, always identical if it has remained. It has a complicated profile, bulges, diamond-shaped top and leaf-shaped projection on the lower part. The found from Budrach shows that ewer-lids were round, with conic body and diamond-shaped finial. It should be noted that the ewer I adduced under No. 24, represented in 1997 a curious specimen of "creative work" of contemporary antiquarians, who added an absolutely alien lid and handle to the typical Ahmad's ewer. Moreover, this vessel was called Ghaznavid, but for some reason dated to the 13th-14th centuries30.

According to varieties of ornament (or its absence) one can divide the ewers into three groups. The first group consist of vessels with unornamented body.

The second group unites vessels with ornament in form of double row of cavities (2 ewers from Martin-Collection, ewer from Akhsikath, ewer from Hetian).

Vessels with ornamental belt with alternating "Solomon's knots", cavities and other motifs, located in one row (ewers from Qal'a-i Qakhqakha, Yaryk-depe, Ghazna, Budrach, one vessel from Bumiller-Collection, ewer No. 24, ewer from Talgar>) form the third group.

By its ornament, the ewer No. 8 from the collection of the Museum of Islamic Art (Berlin) stands by itself.

Vessels of the first group are met in the whole area of spreading of Ahmad's ewers - in Shash, Ustrushana, Farghana Valley, Afghanistan. According to the location where they were found and bought, the second and the third group seemingly distribute to two geographical regions. The second group can be conditionally related to northern (Shash, Farghana, Kashghar) and the third group to southern region (Ustrushana, Chaghaniyan, Afghanistan). It would be enticing to see certain regularity in this distribution, according to which every of these two regions have its own characteristic style of decorating ewers. But analogies to decoration of the second group, namely the double row of cavities, can be met, as I will show below, among materials from Afghanistan. Furthermore, such a distribution does not really correspond to delimitation of historical-cultural regions in the period that is interesting us.

Different dates of this group of ewers were proposed. N.N. Negmatov, who was the first to publish ewers from Qal'a-i Qakhqakha and Chil-Dukhtaron, dated them to the 11th-12th centuries31. According to E. Baer, ewers are dated to the end of the 10th - the first half of the 11th centuries32. A.A. Ivanov proposes dates to the end of the 11th or beginning of the 12th centuries33. B.I. Marshak considers that ewers appeared in the 11th century, were without decoration and that imitators of the 12th century started to falsify master Ahmad's signature and to decorate vessels with ornaments34.

For the solution of the problem of dating, the finding of three ewers (No. 18-20) that are part of Budrach hoard has a principal meaning. The hoard was found in March 1987 during excavations at the north-eastern part of the ancient city35. Unfortunately, because of intensive ploughing up of the site for sowing cotton in the 70-s of the past century, we were not able to fix any architectural rests. Buildings were cut off below the floor-level. Moreover, upper parts of dust-holes, in one of which a few hundreds fragments of many tens of bronze-wares were hidden, were also destroyed. Things from the destroyed part of the hole found them in the layer that was ploughed over.

Obviously the pit was disposed in a yard of former house; it has remained at a depth of two meters. The upper 50-60 cm of it were tightly choked up with bronzes that have remained in situ. Under them whole and broken burnt bricks were stowed in one layer. They separated bronzes from usual filling of a dust-hole: greenish-coloured, saturated with organics earth, containing a large number of bones of birds, sheep and cattle, and fragments of ceramics. The latter represents unglazed and glazed crockery. Some ceramic vessels can be gathered together from fragments (pl. VI: 3, 4)36. Glazed pottery basically consists of bowls and dishes, covered with solid white engobe (white slip) under colourless glaze. The underglaze painting represents epigraphical, pseudoepigraphical, floral and geometrical ornaments. The ceramics are dated to the 10th-11th centuries. One bowl is of big interest: it belongs to so-called Abbasid opaque white-glazed wares of Iraq of the 9th-10th centuries (pl. VI: 3) and obviously was imported from the West. This bowl has overglazed cobalt-blue decoration (an inscription, which is not deciphered) and can be assign to the Type 3, group 1 of the Abbasid opaque white-glazed wares, according to P. Morgan37.

As to the bronzes, the hoard basically contained things that have been in long use and become worthless, and evidently intended on melting and reworking. Among them one can refer 46 mortars (28 of them are intact, but have traces of intensive use: cracks on walls and holes in the bottom), hundreds of fragments of cauldrons, lamp-stands, oil-lamps, ewers, vases, etc. Besides that, the hoard included pieces of bronze casts (bronze that melted down and got cold), bronze shaving, i. e. production remains. In spite of the fact, that the building, in the yard of which the hoard was sheltered, was completely destroyed, the whole totality of received information38 allows to affirm with certainty, that we have to do with a stock of bronzes intended for secondary utilization and kept in a bronze-foundry. Some events, probably military activity, forced the owner, apparently a craftsman-founder, to hide his whole reserve of valuable metal in one of dust-pits. For some reason owner could not return to his hidden property, but thus we received a valuable collection of located and dated objects, and also indirect evidence of existence of bronze-founding workshop in Chaghaniyan in the 10th-11th centuries.

According to information of written sources, the Chaghaniyan district, ruled by amirs from the local dynasty of Muhtajids, was in the 10th century under Samanid overlordship39. In 999 Chaghaniyan was subdued by Qarakhanids and since 1025, it came under rule of Mahmud of Ghazna40. The district, whose capital was also called Chaghaniyan, was several times exposed to attacks and plunder during the 11th century. For example in 1035, Chaghaniyan was plundered by sons of Qarakhanid Ali-tigin; in 1039 district was for a short time captured by Qarakhanid Böri-tigin (Ibrahim b. Nasr), who was a rival of Ali-tigin's sons for dominance in Mavera al-Nahr41. Then, new strong pretenders possessed Chaghaniyan, namely Turkmens under Saljuqid rule. Ghaznavid sultan Ibrahim b. Mas‘ud (1059-1099) ceded to Turkmens principalities of Chaghaniyan, Khuttal and Qubadhiyan in accordance with peace treaty of 1059 or 1060 with Saljuq ruler of the east Chaghri-Beg Dawud42. According to Ibn al-Athir, after death of Toghril-Beg (1063), the supreme ruler of Saljuqids, provinces disposed at upper reaches of Amu-Darya, including Chaghaniyan, revolted against Saljuq suzerainty. Toghril-Beg's nephew, the new Saljuq sultan Alp Arslan b. Chaghri-Beg Dawud was forced in 1063 or 1064 to march against Chaghaniyan, in order to suppress the revolt of certain amir Musa43. Evidently, Alp Arslan decided to punish disobedient Chaghaniyanians severely; to amir Musa who was captured and offered a big ransom for himself, sultan answered: "This is not time for trade" and Musa was executed. It can be supposed that the capital of Chaghaniyan was exposed to demonstrative devastation - judging from information of archaeological investigations of Budrach site, there were almost no findings of coins of the second half of the 11th - the first half of the 12th centuries. This could testify to decay of the town. Seemingly, only since the second half of the 12th century the town-life has revived in full extend. Correspondingly, I suppose that Budrach hoard was most likely concealed in 1063 or 1064 in connection with the punitive expedition carried on by Alp Arslan.

Thus, proceeding from dating of the Budrach hoard, I date most of the Ahmad's ewers (Nos. 1-26) to the first half of the 11th century. We don't have any reasons for dating the Budrach hoard to the 12th century, therefore, no reasons to consider that in 11th century ewers were plain "and only imitators of the 12th century have not considered leaving vessel without ornament as possible"44. The fact that the ewer from Akhsikath (No. 5 of our list) was found together with coins of 104745, and that decoration of the most splendidly ornamented ewer from Qal'a-i Qakhqakha (No. 6) finds his analogies between materials of 11th century46 (therefore, there is no necessity to bring this ewer together with articles of 12th century) speaks in favour of suggested dating. The elegance of the shape distinguishes this whole group. Decorated ewers have a related ornament; part of ewers signed by craftsman Ahmad.

As to imitators B.I. Marshak wrote about, one can relate to them ewers Nos. 27 and 28. They have distorted shape and look more roughly than the basic group. Also, the handle of ewer No. 28 has an evidently changed look, though the shape of the prototype can still be fully recognizable (pl. V: 4). The ewer No. 27 (BC-3278) has a spout decorated with engraving, such decoration is not typical for the basic group (pl. V: 3). The script and content of the inscription are not characteristic too. It is quite probably that these two vessels were made later than the rest ewers.

Another ewer from Christie's auction with high, covered with engraving curved spout, typical spherical upper part and drop-shaped body, also richly decorated with engraving47, presents the subsequent evolution of ewers being studied. It is dated to the 12th-13th centuries and corroborates tendency, revealed by B.I. Marshak: preservation of old traditional shape (partly preserved in this case) with changing of the decoration48. Even if, on the whole, the given ewer is a product of "creation" of antiquarians and gathered together out of several parts (it is complicated to judge about it by the photograph in auction's catalogue), its upper spherical part with spout relates doubtless to imitation of Ahmad's ewers. Its distorted shape and rich ornamentation prove that this article is imitative and late.

A few words should be written about localisation of Ahmad's ewers. First of all I should note that they are considered articles of craftsmen of Mavera al-Nahr. N.N. Negmatov considered that ewers from Qal'a-i Qakhqakha, Chil-Dukhtaron and Akhsikath (Nos. 5, 6 and 7) are production of one workshop in Ustrushana49. This opinion was by V.L. Voronina criticized, who has written about the ewer from Akhsikath50. A.A. Ivanov proposed to consider them a workshop, located probably somewhere in north-eastern regions of Central Asia51 or even more definitely, in Farghana Valley52. He based on the fact that 10 ewers found or bought in these regions. B.A. Litvinsky was the first who pointed out, basing on the finding from Lyagman, spreading of similar ewers in most southern regions of Mavera al-Nahr53. I consider that the location of their production could be the southern part of Maver al-Nahr and specifically Chaghaniyan. The finding of ewers in the Budrach hoard, and also the fact that another bronze object that is dated to the 11th century and signed by Ahmad, namely mortar, was also found on the Budrach site54, can testify about it. As to the amount, after our information, in South Uzbekistan, South Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan were found and bought 9 ewers55.

In confirmation of my opinion about the southern origin of Ahmad's ewers, I apply to some elements of their decoration. We should note that the most favourite pattern in decoration of Ahmad's ewers are "knots of Solomon", rosettes and cavities. The latter decorate at list 12 ewers. A.S. Melikian-Chirvani calls "knots of Solomon" typical motif for Samanid Khorasan56. They are represented on a number of articles from Budrach hoard. As to cavities, we should emphasize that they have not been met on other articles that are attributed to Mavera al-Nahr57. At the same time, this kind of decoration was applied when decorating a number of articles from the Budrach hoard: ewers of Ahmad, the ewer with funnel-shaped neck, vase. Ornament in form of cavities is used for decorating of the bronze ewer from collection of Muza-i Rawza in Ghazna and also bronze incense-burners from Museum of Herat (Afghanistan)58. All these objects are dated to the 10th - the first half of the 11th centuries.

Furthermore, cavities are broadly used in decoration of articles from so-called "white bronze" (safidruy). These objects, basically bowls, are attributed to the second group by A. S. Melikian-Chirvani, for which the geometrical ornament is characteristic. He describes articles from Nishapur, Herat and Sistan, which have cavities in their decoration59. Vessels out of white bronze are dated by A. S. Melikian-Chirvani to between the end of the 7th - the beginning of the 8th and the 11th centuries. Several bronzes - bowl, ladle, bull-headed ewers and bottles with decoration in form of cavities are kept in the collection of M. Bumiller60. On two of them cavities are disposed in two rows, just as on Ahmad's ewers from Martin's collection, from Akhsikath and Hetian (pl. VI: 1, 2). It should be noted that cavities on the bottle by engraved lines with diametrical ribs are surrounded; that is very close to decoration of Martin's ewer (pl. I: 2).

Thus, the following picture can be seen: articles, decorated with motif of cavities (including also in two rows) and dated to the 10th-11th centuries, can be met within modern North-eastern Iran, Afghanistan and South Uzbekistan. In the first half of the 11th century these territories became parts of Ghaznavid State, and one can suggest that use of cavities in the decoration of bronzes became one of specific feature of Ghaznavid toreutic.

Apparently, within Ghaznavid State existed several centres of bronze-founding production, to which some common methods of decoration were characteristic for. One of these centres was Chaghaniyan. Probably here, parallel with other articles, Ahmad's ewers were made. Such a localisation could explain, why these ewers are being found and bought both northwards and southwards of Oxus. In the western lands, subordinating to Qarakhanids (Ustrushana, Shash, western part of Farghana, South Kazakhstan>), as well as in their eastern lands (eastern part of Farghana, Qashghar), Ahmad's ewers could spread owing to traditional connections between these regions and Chaghaniyan (I would like to remind that approximately from 999 to 1026, and also in 1039-1042, the latter was under Qarakhanid rule61).> Furthermore, Mahmud of Ghazna had a friendship treaty with Qadir-khan Yusuf, the ruler of eastern part of the Qarakhanid Khanate62, and under Mas'ud of Ghazna the friendly relations with Qadir-khan and his son Arslan-khan continued63; exchanges of gifts, embassies and signing treaties with Ali-tigin, his sons and with Böri-tigin are also known64, although relations with them were mostly hostile. From Chaghaniyan Ahmad's ewers easily got also to other parts of Ghaznavid territories. As I noted above, not less ewers from the lands that were part of the Ghaznavid state, than from North-eastern regions of Mavera al-Nahr are known now: four specimens were found in South Uzbekistan and South Tajikistan, one in Turkmenistan close to Afghan border and four specimens were acquired in Afghanistan.

Thus, as a result of studies of Ahmad's ewers a more complicated picture appears, than simply division of bronzes of pre-Mongol period to two main groups, namely articles of Khorasan and of Mavera al-Nahr. One can consider these ewers production of craftsmen from Mavera al-Nahr, created in period of entering of Chaghaniyan in sphere of influence of Ghaznavid state65. They reflect features of artistic style, which can be apparently called Ghaznavid.

Hopefully, future findings and their investigation will show if these suppositions are correct or not.




[Missing Image]


Plate I


[Missing Image]

Plate II


[Missing Image]

Plate III


[Missing Image]

Plate IV


[Missing Image]

Plate V


[Missing Image]

Plate VI

  (Click to enlarge)

Antiquities (1991) Antiquities of Southern Uzbekistan, Catalogue, Tokyo, 1991.

Baer E. (1983) Metalwork in Medieval Islamic Art, Albany, 1983.

Baihaqi Abu-l-Fazl (1969) Istoriya Mas'uda, perevod, vvedeniye, kommentariy i prilozheniya A.K. Arendsa, Moscow, 1969.

Baipakov K.M., Grishchenko A.N., Savelyeva T.V., Khodjaev M.B. (1999) Arkheologicheskiye issledovaniya Yuzhno-Kazakhstanskoy kompleksnoy arkheologicheskoy ekspeditsii, Izvestiya Ministerstva nauki i vysshego obrazovaniya Respubliki Kazakhstan, Natsionalnoy Akademii nauk Respubliki Kazakhstan, Seriya obshchestvennykh nauk 1 (219), Almaty, 1999, 8-17.

Barthold W. (1977) Turkestan down to the Mongol invasion, 4th edition, Philadelphia, 1977.

Bernus-Taylor M. (2001) L'Art du métal dans le Khorasan oriental et le Māverā al-Nahr du VIIIe au XVIe siècle, La Bactriane au carrefour des routes et des civilisations de l'Asie centrale: Termez et les villes de Bactriane-Tokharestan, Paris, 2001, 353-383.

Bonhams & Brooks (2001) Bonhams & Brooks' Islamic and Indian Art Auction catalogue, 2 May, London, 2001.

Bosworth C.E. (1981) The Rulers of Chaghaniyan in Early Islamic Times, Iran, XIX, 1981, 1-20.

Culture (1991) Culture and Art of Ancient Uzbekistan, Exhibition catalogue, vol. 2, Moscow, 1991.

Christie's (1994) Christie's Islamic Art, Indian Miniatures, Rugs and Carpets Auction catalogue, 26 April, London, 1994.

Christie's (1996) Christie's Antiquities, Islamic and Oriental Works of Art Auction catalogue, October 17, London, 1996.

Christie's (1998) Christie's Islamic Art and Manuscripts Auction catalogue, 13 October, London, 1998.

Dahncke M. (1988) Frühislamische Bronzen der Bumiller-Collection. Schriften zur Islamischen Kunst- und Kulturgeschichte, Band 1, Panicale, 1988.

Dahncke M. (1995) Tierkopf- und Öllampen-Kannen. Typologie Frühislamischer Bronzen der Bumiller-Collection. Schriften des Museums für Frühislamische Kunst in Bamberg, Band 4, Bamberg, 1995.

Dahncke M. (1997) Enghalsflaschen. Typologie Frühislamischer Bronzen der Bumiller-Collection. Schriften des Museums für Frühislamische Kunst in Bamberg, Band 5, Bamberg, 1997.

Davidovich E.A. (1970) Klad saganiyanskikh monet vtoroi chetverti XI v. kak istoricheskiy istochnik, Pis'mennie pamiatniki Vostoka: Istoriko-filologicheskiye issledovaniya, 1968, Moscow, 1970, 73-97.

Drevnosti Tadzhikistana (1985) Drevnosti Tadzhikistana, Katalog vystavki, Dushanbe, 1985.

Encyclopaedia (1965) The Encyclopaedia of Islam, vol. II, Leiden - London, 1965.

Encyclopaedia (1971) The Encyclopaedia of Islam, vol. III, Leiden - London, 1971.

Gubayev A., Liapin A., Yusupov H. (1978) Arkheologicheskaya razvedka v Takhta-Bazarskom rayone, Karakumskiye drevnosti, 7, Ashkhabad, 1978, 32-47.

Ilyasov Dzh.Ya. (1989) Budrachskii klad bronzovykh izdelii, Ucheniye zapiski komissii po izucheniyu pamyatnikov tsivilizatsii drevnego i srednevekovogo Vostoka (arkheologicheskiye istochniki), Moscow, 1989, 294-306.

Ilyasov Dzh.Ya. (1993) Srednevekoviye stupki s gorodishcha Budrach, Vestnik Shelkovogo puti: arkheologicheskiye istochniki, Moscow, 1993, 135-155.

Iljassov J.Ya. (1999) Tchaganian, Dossiers d'archeologie, 247, Paris, 1999, 68-69.

Ilyasov Dzh.Ya., Ilyasova S.R. (1989) Ornamentirovannye keramicheskiye sosudy s gorodishcha Budrach, Obshchestvennye nauki v Uzbekistane, 11, Tashkent, 1989, 45-47.

Ilyasov J., Pavaloi M. (2001), Bronzekessel aus der Sammlung des Linden-Musems Stuttgart, Tribus, Jahrbuch des Linden-Museums, 50, Stuttgart, 2001, 91-100.

Ilyasov Dzh.Ya., Rusanov D.V. (1988), Klad srednevekovyh bronzovykh izdelii s gorodishcha Budrach, Obshchestvennye nauki v Uzbekistane, 1, Tashkent, 1988, 27-30.

Islamic Art (1990) Islamic Art in the Hermitage Museum, Kuwait, 1990.

Ivanov A.A. (1970) O proizvodstve bronzovykh izdelii v Maverannakhre v domongol'skoye vremya, Kratkiye soobshcheniya instituta arkheologii Akademii Nauk SSSR, 122, Moscow, 1970, 101-105.

Ivanov A.A. (1987) Bronzoviye izdeliya Maverannakhra X-XVII vv., Informatsionny bulleten', spetsial'ny vypusk, Mezhdunarodnaya assotsiatsiya po izucheniyu kul'tur Tsentral'noi Azii, Moscow, 1987, 105-110.

Ivanov A.A. (1998) Central Asian Metalwork in the pre-Mongol Period, The Art and Archaeology of Ancient Persia. New Light on the Parthian and Sasanian Empires, London - New York, 1998, 168-174.

Ivanov A.A., Kozhomberdiev I.K. (1983) Klad bronzovykh veshchey iz Ketmen-tyube, Kirgiziya pri Karakhanidakh, Frunze, 1983, 193-202.

Katalog (1979) Islamische Kunst in Berlin, Katalog Museum für Islamische Kunst, Berlin, 1979.

Kochnev B.D. (2000) Maverannakhr nakanune sozdaniya Zapadnogo Karakhanidskogo kaganata (v svete numizmatiki), Istoriya material'noy kul'tury Uzbekistana, Samarqand, 2000, 178-203.

Les Arts (1999) Les Arts de L'Asie Centrale, Paris, 1999.

Li Yin-ping (1991) The Buried Bronze Wares of the Karahan Dynasty Discovered in Hetian, Xinjiang, Kaogu yu wenwu, 5, Beijing, 1991, 47-53.

Litvinsky B.A., Solovjev V.S. (1985) Srednevekovaya kul'tura Tokharistana, Moscow, 1985.

Marshak B.I. (1972) Bronzovy kuvshin iz Samarkanda, Srednyaya Aziya i Iran, Leningrad, 1972, 61-90.

Martin F.R. (1897) F.R. Martins Sammlungen aus dem Orient in der allgemeinen Kunst- und Industrie-Ausstellung zu Stockholm 1897, Stockholm, 1897.

Martin F.R. (1902) Ältere Kupferarbeiten aus dem Orient gesammelt von F.R. Martin, Stockholm - Leipzig, 1902.

Materialy (1939) Materialy po istorii turkmen i Turkmenii, vol. >I, Moscow - Leningrad, 1939.

Melikian-Chirvani A.S. (1975a) Les bronzes du Khorâssân 3. Bronzes inédits du Xe et XIe siècles, Studia Iranica, 1975, 4/2, 187-205.

Melikian-Chirvani A.S. (1975b) The White Bronzes of Early Islamic Iran, Metropolitan Museum Journal, 9 (1974), New York, 1975, 123-151.

Melikian-Chirvani A.S. (1982) Islamic Metalwork from the Iranian World 8th - 18th Centuries, London, 1982.

Mokrynin V, Ploskikh V. (1992) Klady v Kyrghyzstane: mify i real'nost, Bishkek, 1992.

Morgan P. (1994) Abbasid opaque white-glazed wares, In: Grube E.J. Cobalt and Lustre. The first centuries of Islamic pottery. The Nasser D. Khalili collection of Islamic Art, IX, London, 1994, 36-37.

Negmatov N.N., Khmel'nitsky S.G. (1966) Srednevekovy Shakhristan, Dushanbe, 1966.

Pamyatniki (1983) Pamyatniki kul'tury i iskusstva Kirgizii. Drevnost' i srednevekov'ye. Katalog vystavki>, Leningrad, 1983.

Pugachenkova G.A. (1963) K istoricheskoi topografii Chaganiana, Trudy Sredne-Aziatskogo gosudarstvennogo Universiteta, 200, Tashkent, 1963, 49-64.

Pugachenkova G.A. (1966) Khalchayan, Tashkent, 1966.

Rtveladze E.V. (1978) Obnaruzhenie srednevekovogo seleniya Navandak v oblasti Saganiyan, Istoria materialnoi kultury Uzbekistana, 14, Tashkent, 1978, 114-119.

Rtveladze E.V. (1983) Novie arkheologicheskie dannie k istorii gorodishcha Budrach, Istoria materialnoi kultury Uzbekistana, 18, Tashkent, 1983, 173-187.

Rtveladze E.V. (1989) K istorii Severnogo Tokharistana v IX - nachale XIII vv., Krayevedeniye Surkhandaryi, Tashkent, 1989, 93-112.

Rtveladze E.V. (1994) Alp-Arslan i Saganiyan, Vostochnoe istoricheskoe istochnikovedenie i spetsialnye istoricheskie distsipliny, 2, Moskva, 1994, 262-266.

Smirnov A.I. (1963) Nakhodki v Srednei Azii, Dekorativnoe iskusstvo SSSR, 5, 1963, 37-38.

Sotheby's (1997) Sotheby's Antiquities and Islamic Art Auction catalogue, December 17, New York, 1997.

Von Gladiss, A., Kröger J. (1985) Metall, Stein, Stuck, Holz, Elfenbein, Stoffe (Islamische Kunst. Loseblattkatalog unpublizierter Werke aus Deutschen Museen, Band 2), Mainz, 1985.

Voronina V.L. (1977) Bronzy Akhsiketa iz kollektsii A.I. Smirnova, Srednyaya Aziya v drevnosti i srednevekov'ye (istoriya i kul'tura), Moskva, 1977, 133-137.

Dr. Jangar Ya. Ilyasov
Chief researcher
Fine Arts Scientific Research Institute
Department of Art History
Mustaqillik square 2
700029 Tashkent
Republic of Uzbekistan


1 This work is accomplished with support of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (Germany). I would like to express my thanks to Prof. Dr. Johannes Kalter (Linden-Museum Stuttgart), Prof. Dr. Heinz Gaube (Eberhard Karls Universität, Tübingen), to Prof. Dr. Marthe Bernus-Taylor (conservateur général honoraire, musée du Louvre), to Dr. Almut von Gladiss (Museum f>ür Islamische Kunst, Berlin)>, to Dr. Tigran Mkrtychev (State Museum of Orient, Moscow) for their support and assistance. I also thank Mr. Manfred Bumiller (Museum für Frühislamische Kunst, Bamberg) for the opportunity of using materials from his collection.

2 Marshak (1972), 61-90.

3 Marshak (1972), 86.

4 Negmatov, Khmelnitskii (1966), 179-181; Voronina (1977), 133-134, 136.

5 Baer (1983), 93-94.

6 Ilyasov, Rusanov (1988), 29-31; Ilyasov (1989), 297.

7 Bernus-Taylor (2001), 357, fig. 2: 1.

8 Ivanov (1970), 104; Ivanov, Kozhomberdiev (1983), 196-198.

9 Ivanov (1987), 106-107.

10 Ivanov (1998), 170.

11 Martin (1897), Schrank 7; Martin (1902), Taf. 29; Ivanov (1970), 104; Ivanov, Kozhomberdiev (1983), 197-198.

12 Martin (1897), Schrank 7.

13 Ivanov (1970), 104; Ivanov, Kozhomberdiev (1983), 197; Islamic Art (1990), 14, 45, No. 22.

14 Smirnov (1963), 37-38; Voronina (1977), 133, fig. 35 b.

15 Negmatov, Khmelnitskii (1966), 179, pl. 23; Ivanov, Kozhomberdiev (1983), 198; Drevnosti Tadzhikistana (1985), 320, 321, No. 822; Ivanov (1998), 170, pl. >XXII b; Les Arts (1999), 375, fig. 461.

16 Negmatov, Khmelnitskii (1966), 180, pl. 23; Ivanov, Kozhomberdiev (1983), 198; Drevnosti Tadzhikistana (1985), 320, 321, No. 821.

17 Katalog (1979), 99, Nr. 363; von Gladiss, Kröger (1985), 9-10, Nr. 218.

18 Ivanov, Kozhomberdiev (1983), 195, fig. 5; Pamiatniki (1983), 71, No. 283; Mokrynin, Ploskikh (1992), 82-85.

19 Pamiatniki (1983), 71-72, No. 282, 284, 285; Mokrynin, Ploskikh (1992), 84-85.

20 Litvinsky, Solovjev (1985), 169, 184, fig. 48: 11, 18, fig. 52: 2, pl. 25: 2.

21 Gubayev, Liapin, Yusupov (1978), 41, fig. 2: 7.

22 Baer (1983), 93-94, 321, fig. 71.

23 Ilyasov, Rusanov (1988), 29-31; Ilyasov (1989), 297, fig. 2; Iljassov (1999), 69; Ilyasov, Pavaloi (2001), 93, Abb. 7.

24 Li (1991), 52, fig. 3.

25 Dahncke (1995), 59, Abb. 11 c.

26 Sotheby's (1997), lot 464; Christie's (1998), 110, lot 233; Bonhams & Brooks (2001), 127, lot 380.

27 Baipakov et al. (1999), 17, fig. 3.

28 Christie's (1994), 112, lot 297.

29 Baer (1983), 93.

30 Sotheby's (1997), lot 464.

31 Negmatov, Khmelnitskii (1966), 181.

32 Baer (1983), 93.

33 Ivanov (1987), 107; Ivanov (1998), 170.

34 Marshak (1972), 86.

35 The Budrach archaeological site is identified with medieval Chaghaniyan (Arabic rendering: Saghaniyan), the capital of the same named domain, ones situated at the middle and upper stream of Surkhandarya river, see: Pugachenkova (1963), 58-63; Pugachenkova (1966), 14-26; Rtveladze (1978), 114-116; Rtveladze (1983), 173-187.

36 Ilyasov, Ilyasova (1989), 45-47, figs. 1, 2; Antiquities (1991), 319, 322, Nos. 293, 310; Iljassov (1999), 68.

37 Morgan (1994), 36-37.

38 Including the serial character of some articles. For example, 28 whole and fragmented mortars of the same type with decoration in form of crenellation were found in the Budrach hoard, see: Ilyasov (1993), 135-137, pl. >I: 2, 3, pls. III, IV; Culture (1991), 114, No. 548; Iljassov (1999), 69. None of all known to me bronze mortars belonging to the production of craftsmen of medieval Islamic world have such a decoration (see also: Ivanov (1998), 171, pl. XXIV c). The only exception is the mortar from Bumiller-Collection, kept in Museum für Frühislamische Kunst in Bamberg (Inv. No. BC-467). It is absolutely analogous to mortars from Budrach. Since it was acquired on an antiquarian market in Kabul, we have every reason to suppose that this mortar could have come from the territory of Chaghaniyan.

39 Barthold (1977), 72-73, 233-234.

40 Encyclopaedia (1965), 1; Bosworth (1981), 1-20.

41 Baihaqi (1969), 695 [569, here and farther in square brackets are page numbers of Baihaqi's manuscript, which is published by Ghani and Fayyadh, Tehran 1945]; Bosworth (1981), 15-16. For relations between Ali-tigin, his sons and Böri-tigin see also Kochnev (2000), 178-203.

42 Encyclopaedia (1965), 1, 5, 1052. In the inscription on a silver-plated dirham from the Budrach site which was minted in Chaghaniyan in 1057-58, Saljuqid Alp Arslan-Beg Muhammad b. Chaghri-Beg is pointed (Rtveladze (1989) 107), although, on the other hand, Baihaqi mentioned under 1059-60 that in Chaghaniyan was Khoja Ra'is Ali Mikal (Baihaqi (1969), 606 [495]). This can testify that Chaghaniyan was captured by Turkmens before its official handing over to Saljuqids, and then for some time returned under the rule of Ghaznavids. Though, here, as noted by the translator of Baihaqi's history into Russian A.K. Arends, the phrase in original is not quite clear, probably the text is corrupt (Baihaqi (1969), 606, note v). See also: Bosworth (1981), 13-14.

43 Materialy (1939), 374; Barthold (1977), 313-314; Bosworth (1981), 14-15.

44 Marshak (1972), 86.

45 Voronina (1977), 133.

46 See: Drevnosti Tadzhikistana (1985), 321; Les Arts (1999), fig. 461.

47 Christie's (1996), colour plate 3, lot 271.

48 Marshak (1972), 85.

49 Negmatov, Khmelnitskii (1966), 181.

50 Voronina (1977), 136.

51 Ivanov, Kozhomberdiev (1983), 198.

52 Ivanov (1987), 107.

53 Litvinsky, Solovjev (1985), 184.

54 Antiquities (1991), 320, No. 300; Culture (1991), 113, No. 547; Ilyasov (1993), 138, pl. II: 1; Ilyasov, Pavaloi (2001), 93, Abb. 6.

55 From left 7 vessels one was found in Xinjiang (hence, it belongs to Northeast of Central Asia), two are acquired somewhere in Central Asia, rest four got to Western antiquarian markets, their provenance is unknown.

56 Melikian-Chirvani (1982), 44.

57 Ivanov (1998), 168-174.

58 Melikian-Chirvani (1975a), 194-201, figs. 5-7, 9, 10. On the ewer from Muza-i Rawza the craftsman's signature is also disposed vertically. A.S. Melikian-Chirvani has pay attention to the similar resemblance of this vessel with Ahmad's ewers.

59 Melikian-Chirvani (1975b), 136-147, figs. 16-24, 26, 33.

60 Dahncke (1988), 12-15, Abb. 10, 11; Dahncke (1995), 74-79, 82-84, Abb. 15, 16, 18; Dahncke (1997), 213-219, Abb. 56, 56a, 57. Dates, proposed for them - the 8th -9th and the 9th-10th centuries, may be moved to the 10th - the first half of the 11th centuries. Although the basic part of these vessels was acquired in London and Munich, and only one in Kabul, one can suppose with sufficient part of confidence that all of them come from Afghanistan and Eastern Iran.

61 Davidovich (1970), 86, 88; Bosworth (1981), 15-16.

62 Encyclopaedia (1971), 1114.

63 Baihaqi (1969), 143-150 [77-84], 158 [91, 274-275 [197-198], 291-302 [211-220], 524-526 [424-426], 644-647 [526-529].

64 Baihaqi (1969), 134-135 [68], 445 [354], 606-608 [496]; 621-624 [508-510], 670-671 [547-548].

65 On the grounds of studies of findings from Lyagman site (Southern Tajikistan), B.A. Litvinsky emphasized the close historical and cultural connections of right-bank districts of Tokharistan (Vakhsh, Khuttal, Qubadhiyan, Tirmidh and Chaghaniyan) with left-bank, i.e. Afghan part of Tokharistan, and supposed the possibility of existence of Tokharistanian (in the broad sense) school of manufacture of bronze wares from the end of 10th - the beginning of the 11th centuries and to the beginning of the 13th century, see: Litvinsky, Solovjev (1985), 192-194.



Top of Page



Please note this article is originated from: Webfestschrift Marshak Ērān ud Anērān - Electronic Version of studies presented to Boris Ilich Marshak on the Occasion of His 70th Birthday.

Editors: Matteo Compareti, Paola Raffetta, Gianroberto Scarcia



Please note: CAIS has the privilege to publish the above article originating from the above-mentioned source, for educational purposes only (Read Only). This article has been published in accordance with the author(s) / source' copyright-policy -- therefore, the ownership and copyright of this page-file remain with the author(s) / sourceFor any other purposes, you must obtain a  written permission from the copyright owner concerned. (Please refer to CAIS Copyright Policy).




my_Iran.jpg (13682 bytes)

"History is the Light on the Path to Future"


Persian_NOT_Farsi_by_Shapour_Suren-Pahlav_3D2.gif (177309 bytes)


Encyclopaedia Iranica

BIPS.jpg (15695 bytes)

The British Institute of Persian Studies

"Persepolis Reconstructed"

Persepolis_reconstructed2.jpg (36944 bytes)


The British Museum

The Royal

Asiatic Society

Persian_Gulf_Facebook.jpg (1935028 bytes)

The Persian Gulf

Facebook Page

Please use your "Back" button (top left) to return to the previous page

Copyright © 1998-2015 The Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies (CAIS)