These two vases were mostly part of an altar set that included an incense burner and circular box, all in cast bronze and having similar Koranic inscriptions. The vases are heavily cast as are most of these types of inscribed utensils. The calligraphy is raised from the background and is framed by a lobed cartouche surrounding a ring-punched background that helps to accentuate the inscription. The punched background was probably lacquered a dark brown or black originally and some traces appear to remain. The vases are well-cast and finely finished with concentric bands enhancing both the mouth rims and foot rims. A key-fret band is incised around the upper necks below the mouth rims. The exteriors exhibit a brownish, blackish patina and light patches of verdigris. Bronzes with Arabic inscriptions such as these vases were probably not made for export, but rather to serve the needs of the Muslim community in China. Both vases are in very good condition.
Height: 5 7/8 in.; Width: 3 3/8 in.