On a Tinned Copper Bowl and Designs on Paper

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On a Tinned Copper Bowl and Designs on Paper

Linda Komaroff


This presentation explores a deluxe tinned copper bowl at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), which dates from the Timurid period (1370–1506). Its inscribed Persian verses offer a first-hand account about the making of such objects, especially their elaborate and highly nuanced decoration. This decoration was mediated through drawn designs, a practice accounted for in Timurid book arts as well. Speaking in the voice of the artist, the poetic inscription on the bowl highlights a paper-to-metal process of making through the evocative statement: “I drew and made a thousand designs for the sake of the bowl.”


Giuzal’ian, L. T. “Persidskoe stikhotvorenie na mednom tazike iz byvshei kollektsii D.S. Raisa.” [Persian verses on a copper bowl formerly in the collection of D.S. Rice]. Epigrafika Vostoka 21 (1972): 40–41. 

Komaroff, Linda. The Golden Disk of Heaven: Metalwork of Timurid Iran. New York and Costa Mesa: Mazda Publishers, 1992.

Komaroff, Linda. “Mediating between Media in Timurid Iran: Persian Poetry, Designs on Paper, and the Making of Deluxe Tinned Copperware.” In Meaning in Islamic Art: Studies in Honour of Bernard O’Kane, ed. Heba Mostafa. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, forthcoming.

Komaroff, Linda.  “‘A Thousand Designs for the Sake of the Bowl’: A Wine Vessel with Persian Inscriptions at LACMA.” Artibus Asiae 67, no. 1 (2007): 25–38.

Roxburgh, David. The Persian Album, 1400-1600: From Dispersal to Collection. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005.


Linda Komaroff, “On a Tinned Copper Bowl and Designs on Paper,” Khamseen: Islamic Art History Online, published 27 January 2022.

Linda Komaroff (PhD, Institute of Fine Arts, NYU, 1984) is Curator of Islamic Art and Department Head, Art of the Middle East, at LACMA. She has organized various exhibitions on Islamic art as well as contemporary Middle East art, among them The Legacy of Genghis Khan: Courtly Art and Culture in Western Asia, 1256–1353 (2002-03), Gifts of the Sultan: The Arts of Giving at the Islamic Courts (2011-12), In the Fields of Empty Days: The Intersection of Past and Present in Iranian Art (2018); she is currently working on Women Defining Women in Contemporary Art of the Middle East and Beyond (2023) and Dining with the Sultan: The Fine Art of Feasting (2024). She is the author or editor of several books and exhibition catalogues, and has written numerous articles and book chapters on Islamic and contemporary Middle East art.