ISLAMIC, Iran, Seljuk


Staff Head
ca. 12th - 13th C.E.
4 3/8 x 1 1/2 x 3 1/2 in.
Important dignitaries would travel along the Silk Road from places like China, India and Syria, and during the 12th -13th centuries the merchant class was at its height of travel on the Silk Road. This bronze, stylized cat would have been at the top of a staff, which would have been used in travel. It may have also been used as a weapon to fend off evils like thieves and to ward off dangerous animals. In many forms of Buddhism, cats were said to be able to see spirits in the dark and had the ability to disperse the evil spirits. Cats were also protectors of the silkworm. The merchant class, who mainly sold and traded expensive fabrics and cattle on the Silk Road, would have been concerned with such superstitious beliefs. Not only would this staff be used to physically protect the bearer and their goods from dangerous criminals, but it would protect against from evil spirits.


ca. 12th - 13th C.E.


Iran, Seljuk


Gift of Katharine W. Tremaine




Iran, Seljuk, “ISLAMIC, Iran, Seljuk,” UCSB ADA Museum Omeka, accessed April 17, 2024,