Mask of Vaikuntha Vishnu, late 5th century. Learn more about 5th century masks
A religious processional object used by the Shi’a community on Ashura, the tenth day of Muharram. It is considered a symbolic reference to the first Shi’a imam Ali, the son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad. It is typically curvilinear or teardrop shaped and made of gilded or cast bronze, brass or steel. It features Arabic and calligraphic inscriptions as well as several decorative elements such as dragons, and is topped with a hip knob (finial).
Also refers to a motif or tile mosaic depicting the symbol.
From the Arabic alam, meaning “world.”