Precious and Semi-Precious Stones
Lapis Lazuli, Carnelian, Rock Crystal, Agate, Turquoise, & Imitations
This selection of precious and semi-precious stones were found at three different sites in the Middle East: Ur in southern Mesopotamia, Hissar in northeastern Iran, and at Rayy on the Central Plateau of Iran. The Ur and Hissar material are Bronze Age in date and are part of the Age of Exchange that characterized the third millennium BC. The Rayy material is medieval Islamic period. Questions that arise through the materials concern the value of these materials in different cultural contexts, the sources of the materials, the routes that they would have travelled, the nature of the trading organizations involved in procuring and distributing them. Techniques of manufacture can be explored through close examination. Also of interest is how popular these materials were in their cultural contexts, Were these materials ever copied in other media during the period of their use?