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The al-Mughīra Pyxis and Spanish Umayyad Ivories: Aims and Tools of Power

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses the most gorgeous medallion-decorated pyxis still extant, the al-Mughīra pyxis. Purchased by the Louvre in 1898, the al-Mughīra pyxis is of exceptional quality. Produced in the year 968, its design is elaborate and its iconographical scheme complex and puzzling. The inscription states that it was carved for al- Mughīra, son of the Commander of the Faithful. Given the flaws in the al-Mughīra pyxis, it seems the question of the context and intent of this object remains an open one, and the pyxis remains open to new interpretations. The chapter examines by noting the scenes occupying the objects distinctive medallion decoration. It attempts to elucidate the meaning of the medallions on the al-Mughīra pyxis through new readings of contemporary Umayyad sources.

Keywords: al-Mughīra pyxis; medallion decoration; Umayyad sources



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