Charming Islamic Medieval Bronze Lion Mask, circa 12 - 13th Century CE. Squinted eyes with yawning mouth showing small tongue and teeth. Striated incisions for whiskers and hair. 3 1/4" high not including custom lucite stand. Ex: Dr. K.A. Moosberg collection, Tel Aviv. Islamic decorative arts were highly valued imports to Europe throughout the Middle Ages. Largely because of accidents of survival the majority of surviving examples are those that were in the possession of the church. In the early period textiles were especially important, used for church vestments, shrouds, hangings and clothing for the elite. Islamic pottery of everyday quality was still preferred to European wares. Because decoration was mostly ornamental, or small hunting scenes and the like, and inscriptions were not understood, Islamic objects did not offend Christian sensibilities. Medieval art in Sicily is interesting stylistically because of the mixture of Norman, Arab and Byzantine influences in areas such as mosaics and metal inlays, sculpture, and bronze working.