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Torch-stand

Western Iran, 1587-1588
Cast copper alloy, engraved and inlaid with black composition
H. 34.4 cm; Base Diam. 19.2 cm
Musée du Louvre, Musée des Arts décoratifs deposit, acquired 1890, formerly in the Piot Collection
Ucad 5603

The use of such candlesticks or torch-stands, of which numerous examples exist, has been much debated. However the consensus is now that these objects were only used as torches (mash’al in Persian). This kind of cylindrical pillar shape clearly appeared in the second quarter of the sixteenth century and may come from north-western India. The shaft of pillar-candlesticks may have changed from the smooth to the faceted type around the mid sixteenth century, probably in western Iran. This one was made in the last decades of the sixteenth century.

Two Persian poems are inscribed in nasta’liq near the top and the bottom of the shaft. One is a poem by the thirteenth century Sufi poet Sa’di. The second poem at the base of the object was written in the first half of the sixteenth century by a Persian poet. The lip of the torcher is inscribed with the date and the name of Hadji Kamal al-Din ibn Kasim Hasan Abiwardi, who commissioned the piece.

Torch-stand
Torch-stand
Ucad 5603
© RMN / Berizzi