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Pyxis of al-Mughira (Term Paper Sample)


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- a paper on Pyxis of al-Mughira
the sample gives a short history about the artifact


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Art Beyond Western Europe: Pyxis of al-Mughira
Figure 1: Mortel, Pyxis of al-Mughira, Flickr, 2014
The origin of the Pyxis of al-Mughira can be traced back to 968 CE during the period of Umayyad in Islam. It is believed to have been made in a workshop at Madinat al-Zahra, a palace-city in Córdoba. The pyxis was made entirely by carving elephant ivory along with Jade and other precious gems and stones. The use of the pyxis is still a mystery because no substances could be detected in the interior of the vessel. However, pyxides are used as containers or vessels to store cosmetics and perfumes, commonly. The exterior of the pyxis is inscribed with several animals such as peacocks, goats, and griffons and medallions. Additionally, the name of the craftsman is also carved on the outside of the pyxis. Four medallions can be found in the exterior of the pyxis. In one, two men can be found collecting eggs from the nest of a falcon; in another one, two cavalrymen is plucking dates from a palm tree; another medallion depicts a musical court scene; in the last one, a bull and a lion fighting.
The Pyxis of al-Mughira is an iconic example of ivory carving tradition in Islamic art. Since ivory was considered to be a symbol of elegance and power, it was widely used in luxury artistic works. In general, pyxides were made for the sole purpose of gifting them to others during special and ceremonial events, especially within the royal f

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