The Aron Collection - I - Islamic Magic - Therapeutic Bowls - Giunta Roberta (IPOCAN) Series catalogorum VIII


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    In 8°, bross. edit., . 348, ill. a colori e b/n, cm. 21x29,30, Roma


    The Aron Collection is an important English private collection of Islamic metalwork, known in part through a monograph study conducted a number of years ago by James W. Allan, dealing with a then total of 44 objects. The collection has continued to grow and now includes a remarkable compilation of Islamic magic bowls, almost all in good condition. These represent a precious source for expanding knowledge on this entire class of vessels, whose production continued up to quite recent times. The generic term 'magic' has historically been applied to a particular type of bowl, in brass or copper alloy, of various forms and manufactures, independently of their potential functions within the specific cultural-historic contexts. Their commonality lies in the massive presence of inscriptions in Arabic, more rarely in Persian, and of pseudo-texts executed in unintelligible alphabets, of numerie, alphabetic and alphanumeric sequences, of magic squares and grids, symbols, as well as a rich repertoire of images. Texts, symbols and iconographies are incised on the exterior and interior, in a manner that often carpets the surfaces, enclosed in frames, cartouches and medallions, and assembled in geometrie and geometric-vegetai compositions.

    In 2010, the collection owner requested Michele Bernardini and the current author to prepare a catalogue of the entirety of the magie bowls, a work which is now nearing publication. However the two authors also decided to prepare monograph studies of two specific categories of the bowls: the former scholar basing his research on the 21 Aron specimens of Iranian production, and the latter on the 14 items produced in the near eastem area. In this way it would be possible to provide the necessary in-depth examination of the morphological, decorative and functional traits associated with these two broad categories.

    The 14 bowls presented in this volume are the ones of hemispheric form, generally of very small dimensions, composing a category identified as 'magic-therapeutic', given the consistent presence of an Arabic text that provides precise information concerning the curative functions of the object, its powers and beneficial properties, and sometimes its means of use. The decorative architecture of these bowls is peculiar, and indicative of future fortune, being inspired by the structure of the cosmos. In fact the design is almost always construeted on the basis of a number of concentric circles and medallions, incised on one or both of the inner and outer surfaces. The arrangement of the medallions, whether with or without figurative representations, quite plainly suggests the positions of the sun, planets and zodiac constellations. The pseudo-inscriptions and alphanumeric sequences, evidently empowered with strong magical and apotropaic virtues, are almost always more numerous than the inscriptions of comprehensible meaning, and are visually emphasized by the incision of rigidly inscribed underlining....




    Table of transliteration



    Introduction to catalogue records

    no. 1

    no. 2

    Commentary (cat. nos. l, 2)

    no. 3

    Commentary (cat. no. 3)

    no. 4

    no. 5

    Commentary (cat. nos. 4, 5)


    Commentary (cat. no. 6)

    no. 7

    no. 8

    no. 9

    no. 10

    Commentary (cat. nos. 7-10)

    no. 11

    no. 12

    Commentary (cat. nos. 11, 12)

    no. 13

    no. 14

    Commentary (cat. nos. 13, 14)

    Index of the fourteen Aron Collection bowls


    Islamic magic-therapeutic bowls: from early accounts to contemporary studil Survey of 114 Islamic magie therapeutie bowls

    Typological classification

    Transcriptions of magic-therapeutic formulas


    The magic-therapeutic formulas: structure and contents

    Description of types: patterns and therapeutic formulas




    I - Table of concordance for numbering of Aron Collection bowls

    II - Koranic verses on the 14 bowls of the Aron Collection

    III - List of bowls including historic information in their formula


    I - List of ailments and complaints

    II - General Index