Glass, Rock Crystal and Jade
Qajar, 19th century CE
Materials and technique
Agate and rubies in silver-gilt mount
Length: 12.1 cm
A beautiful frame of rubies surrounds the circumference of this oval-shaped pendant, which was meant to be worn, as suggested by three loops added at its top for suspension. After the invocation of the shahada (“there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is His Messenger”), which appears in the centre, the entirety of the thirty-sixth chapter of the Qur’an, generally reserved for recitation during challenging or difficult times (such as hunger, adversity, illness, or impending death) has been densely inscribed onto the surface. The chapter begins on the outer border and is followed by text written in pairs of panels framing the rectangle, continuing in this manner towards the centre of the pendant. The choice of Surat Ya Sin emphasizes the talismanic nature of this object, which would have been used to protect its wearer from harm. The final lines of text suggest the pendant was probably made for a Shia Muslim. They include two lines from a well-known Arabic poem invoking the help and protection of the Prophet Muhammad and his cousin and son-in-law, 'Ali, followed by the ninety-nine names of God, and ending with the names of Muhammad, 'Ali, and 'Ali’s sons, Hasan and Husayn.
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