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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Oval bezel 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

    Onyx in alternating chesnut and white; bezel, bevelled towards the front; oval; back angle slightly cut. One line of kufic script, without dots. A lām-alif beneath.

    Ja'far b. Ahmad جعفر بن احمد

    Lām-alif لا

    The person whose name is inscribed on the seal could be Ja'far b. Aḥmad b. Muḥammad (310-337/922-949) from the dynasty of Banijurids.

    The lām-alif has perhaps an esoteric meaning, cf. Assadullah Souren Melikian-Chirvani, 'M.C.A.B.I. XIV. - Les thèmes ésotériques et les thèmes mystiques dan l'art du bronze iranien', in Mélanges H. Corbin, Teheran, 1977, p. 373-5, where the problem of lām-alif on metal objects is discussed. If this hypothesis is right, it would be more correct to include this seal in group I.1.2

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