An early 19th-century finial from an 'alam

Source: ebay, Sept. 2004

"Early 19th century Islamic Indo Persian Brass Standard Finial Alum in the shape of the hand, the five fingers representing the Panjatan, engraved with calligraphic panel. Mounted on a frame cast with dragon heads and riveted. Height 12 ¾ inches (32 ½ cm)."

The finial of an 'alam, probably Deccani, c.1890-91

(downloaded Oct. 2006)

"A SILVER GILT 'ALAM, PROBABLY DECCAN, INDIA, AH 1308 (1890-1 AD). In the form of a hand (panj tang) with applied bands with dragon's head terminals, tubular attachment element, cast in silver, the front decorated in repoussé, engraved and gilded, the four fingers with sura from the Qur'an (I, CXII, CXIII, CXIV), central roundel with the Nada 'Ali quatrain surrounded by roundels with the names of the twelve Imams, invocations to the Prophet Muhammad on the thumb and to Fatima al-Zahra below the fingers, dated below 1308- (76.3cm.) high; 16½in. (42cm.) wide."


'Alams (banners or standards for processional use)  in imambargahs in Matiya Burj, near Calcutta, April 1998

Source: photos courtesy of Dr. Amy Bard, June 2004

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