Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

Ashmolean − Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

Catalogue of Islamic Seals and Talismans

A catalogue of seals and talismans housed at the Ashmolean from the 8th to 19th century Islamic world, by Ludvik Kalus (published Oxford, 1986).

Islamic Seals and Talismans by Ludvik Kalus

Publications online: 237 objects

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Rectangular cabochon seal with kufic inscription

  • loan



  • kufic

    A term denoting various styles of angular Arabic script. Emerged in the early centuries of Islam, kufic soon became the preferred hand to copy holy texts.


    • currently in research collection

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Publications online

  • Islamic Seals and Talismans by Ludvik Kalus

    Catalogue of Islamic Seals and Talismans

    Cornelian; cabochon, plain-convex (but the back face has two triangular facets); very slightly bevelled towards the back (this edge is very narrow); rectangular; back angle cut. One central line (2) and two secondary lines (1 and 3) of kufic script, without points. In the third line faraja or fariḥa or a word derived from these roots can be distinguisged. The small group of letters in the first line is not very clear, perhaps it would be possible to read fī. The key word for the reading of the whole seems to be the word in the second line, but the only reading I can propose is li-kulli which is difficult to read in this way with the word proposed in the first line. I do not think the inscription contains a personal name, but rather a proverb or a maxim.

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