The Wade Cup with Animated Script

The Wade Cup with Animated Script


Brass inlaid with silver

Overall: 11.5 cm (4 1/2 in.); Diameter: 16.1 cm (6 5/16 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1944.485



Art of the Islamic World (Islamic art rotation)

Did you know?

This is known as the Wade Cup, after J. H. Wade who bequeathed the funds for its acquisition


The highlight of the cup’s decoration is the inscription around the rim, which you see on the walls around you, with letters composed of human figures, animals, and birds. This is known as animated script and it developed in northeast Iran or Afghanistan during the mid-1100s and migrated westward. The inscription on the rim of the Wade Cup is the pinnacle of this form of script with its full-figure animation. The body of the cup is covered with interlacing bands of compartments containing tiny figures of humans and animals. These represent the 12 signs of the zodiac from astrology, the practice of interpreting the influence of planets and stars on earthly affairs. Astrology began in Mesopotamia, was adopted by the Greeks, and then absorbed into medieval Islamic culture through translations of Greek texts.


The Wade Cup
The Inscription
Signs of the Zodiac
Creative Characters
See also
Islamic Art
Islamic Art
Type of artwork: 

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