There was found a gold peacock studded with precious gemstones, whose eyes were of ruby, its feathers of glass enamel inlaid with gold, emulating the natural colors of peacock feathers; also there was a gold rooster similar to the peacock, with a split crest—the largest rooster crest ever known—studded with all kinds of large pearls and precious stones, whose eyes were of ruby; and there was a gazelle that looked, in color and shape, like a real gazelle. It was similar in being studded with large pearls and precious stones. I was told that the gazelle’s belly was the only white spot on its body—just like the color of real gazelles, and it was closely set with magnificent large pearls.
From the Book of Gifts and Rarities—Selections Compiled in the Fifteenth Century from an Eleventh-Century Manuscript on Gifts and Treasures, translated from the Arabic by Ghãda al-Hijjãwi al-Qaddumi, Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1996, p.238.
These extracts appear as a lead-up to Materiality No. 3: Precious. Submissions for issue #3 are due on 30 September 2013. Issue #2 (Time) is due out at the end of July. To purchase previous copies of Materiality, please visit the pinknantucket press shop.