EXTRAORDINARY DOOR KNOCKER, CAST AND ENGRAVED BRONZE, INLAID WITH NIELLO

Note: click on image to enlarge

PERIOD: 11th Century

ORIGIN: Southern Italy

DIMENSIONS: 17.5in. (44.3cm.) diam.

DESCRIPTION:
This sculptural masterpiece of a door knocker is dominated by a lion's head in whose jaws hangs a combination of a handle and a knocker designed as a ring embellished with a cock. Around the finely stylized mane is a Kufi inscription on a black niello ground. Niello is an alloy of silver, lead, copper, or bismuth sulfides that is ground to a powder and then melted into hollows in the object. The inscription proclaims the Muslim profession of faith: "In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. I testify that there is no god but God and that Muhammad is the messenger of God.

PROVENANCE: Private Swiss Collection

CERTIFICATE: Comes with a certificate from the Art Loss Register.

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