Hand-Hammered Copper Plate with Silver Damascening (LEO Design)

“Damascening” is the art and craft of inlaying one metal into another, creating a delicate, decorative effect.  Most often, a precious metal (like silver or gold) is laid into a darker metal (like copper or bronze) to create a contrasting pattern—as with the plate above.  Damascened items are usually decorative and include jewelry, plates and chargers, vases, bowls or boxes. The term “damascene” is English and was coined because the metalworks bore a resemblance to woven damask. (The name “damask” was coined by the French because, during the Early Middle Ages, Islamic and Byzantine Christian weavers created wonderful and elaborate “damask” textiles in and around Damascus, Syria).

Although such damascened metalwork is crafted in the Islamic world, other parts of the world are known to have developed the craft.  From Middle Bronze Age Greece (approximately 2,000 years B.C.), such metalwork has been unearthed.  The Japanese and Chinese, likewise, have an ancient history of the practice.  And in Toledo, Spain (once home to a large Islamic population), very fine damascene work has been created (especially on jewelry).

The copper plate, shown above, was made in Persia (now Iran) in the 1920’s.  A delicate (Art Deco-ish) stag leaps at the plate’s center.  Please click on the photo above to learn more about it.


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