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The entire image was probably meant as a generic symbol of kingship or royalty, rather than as a depiction of a specific Sasanian ruler.Thus, a theme derived from pre-Islamic courtly tradition in Iran was simply continued, although the image had begun to lose some of its former meaning. The assimilation and imaginative adaptation of pre-Islamic decorative themes and motifs – as well as techniques, styles, and forms – characterize much of the art of early Islamic times.The king wears a large, carefully detailed crown, typical of Sasanian royal imagery.In this instance, however, the crown, in the form of a crescent and globe set between a symmetrical pair of wings, is not intended to distinguish a particular king.Of the many diverse arts that flourished in the early Islamic period, textiles played an especially significant role in society, one that continued in subsequent periods.Textiles were ubiquitous in Islamic lands, serving as clothing, household furnishings, and portable architecture (tents).The manufacture of and trade in textiles were highly sophisticated and profitable industries that built upon Byzantine and Sasanian traditions.
Another glass object in the collection, a cosmetic container in the form of a bottle mounted on the back of a horse or a donkey, cleverly recasts a type of late Roman glass vessel while retaining the same technique and function (fig. In the Islamic version – which was known over a wide area, including Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and Iran – the Roman balsamarium, a tube-shaped unguent flask, is typically transformed through the addition of one or more lively pack animals, who now transport the flask.Many of the extant early Islamic textiles were found in Egypt, primarily in graves, where the dark and dry conditions helped to preserve them.The fragments that have survived are fabricated from cotton, linen, silk, and wool, often dyed vivid colors.(This system was in common use until the eleventh century.) Gold illumination sometimes signaled the beginning of each chapter, and gold medallions were often used to denote groups of five or ten verses.Parchment, which is made from cured and scraped animal skin, was the preferred material for early Islamic and early medieval Qur'ans.