HvWO 171

Large copper tray and a plate with very beautiful Safavid type designs and architectural scroll-work (very old piece).The back of the tray is seriously corroded.

Large plate with very beautiful Safavid type designs

Very rare large copper tray  with very beautiful artistic  Safavid type designs (In Oman this style of copper-work is referred to as Shirazzi) .   This spacious Safavid design dates from a specific period very close to 1600 used in the  Khorosan Herat district Persia (see ref 1) page 268 fig 67 and page 270 fig 69.

 In 1673 Padtbrugge writes "The coating with tin by use of sal-ammoniac is here just as usual as in Persia, because all their pots, saucers, and table dishes are made of brass" (see ref 6) Diameter 80 cm and weight  8,3 kg. The back of the plate is heavily corroded, confirming significant age (given Oman´s dry climate) The "less crowded / spacious design" is closest to that in the V&A book by Melikian (ref 1) page 268 fig 67 dating around 1600. " Use of geometrical scroll-work as a background to the animal medallions" The design includes very fine illustrations of hare, gazelles and leopards. The fine architectural scroll-work in the empty spaces has the shape of large arches which maybe represent abstract flowers or bells!

Persians and Persian goods were boycotted for a period by the Omani since the Persians last occupied their country. See e.g. Wellsted (ref 2)  in 1836: page 16  "It is only very recent the former treachery of of the Persians has been overlooked by the Arabs. During Imam Saaf´s reign a garrison of the latter admitted into town; but taking advantage of that prince´s habitual vice of drunkenness, they on one occasion  seized upon the forts, deposed him, and usurped government. After they (the Persians) in their turn were dispossessed, they were not allowed in any considerable number to reside within the town (muscat) ; but since the marriage of the Imam (the sultan) with the Princess of Shiraz, that order , with several other restrictions, has been rescinded"

The Dutchman Padtbrugge when visiting Muscat in 1673 reports that he has seen  Persian craftsmen working in the Muscat souq.  Purchased in the old copper-souq in Nizwa during the early 1980´s.  So there are three options for origin:

  1. Persian (made in Persia)
  2. Made by Persian craftsmen in Oman
  3. By Omani who copied the Persian style in particular when Persians were boycotted by Omani after their occupation of Oman. This may explain the copper-work with "diluted designs"

In the case of this tray the origin is almost certainly Persian and dating from around 1600  (so option 1 or option 2)

For several of the pieces in the next two groups of copper-work, the origin may very well be Omani (option 3)

Antique safavid copper

The central part of the plate is slightly elevated, thereby further highlighting the beautiful design.

antique Omani copperDiameter approx 80 cm!!

antique Omani copper

                                                      Large very old Persian trayantique safavid copper

antique Safavid  copper Tray

The back of the previous large plate is heavily corroded

 Antique Persian copper plate

Small Persian copper plate with different design

Central decoration very worn but similar Ref 1 page 302 fig 132A


Detail of small Persian copper plate

Another small Persian plate is shown in ref 1 page 354 fig 167a

Name: Siniyyah / Shirazzi

Period: 1580-1630

Origin: Persia or Oman

  1. Islamic Metalwork from the Iranian World A.S. Melikian-Chirvani 1982 Victoria and Albert museum
  2. Sotheby´s auction Art of the Islamic world London Lot 185  3 October 2012
  3. J.L. Carter Tribes in Oman Peninsular publishing 1982 page 111 
  4. Traditional crafts of Saudi Arabia 1981 by John Topham p 157
  5. Nederlanders aan de kusten van Oman"1991 by B.J. Slot (contains the information on Muscat by Padtbrugge)
  6. Travels in Arabia by Wellsted Volume 1 1837
  7. Oman-Holland A short history of the relations between the Sultanate of Oman and the Netherlands by Dr. B. Slot 1993 (English translation of reference 4)