230
230
A rare Mamluk engraved brass basin from the reign of Sultan Qaytbay (1468-96), Egypt, late 15th century
Estimate
25,00035,000
JUMP TO LOT
230
A rare Mamluk engraved brass basin from the reign of Sultan Qaytbay (1468-96), Egypt, late 15th century
Estimate
25,00035,000
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Arts of the Islamic World

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A rare Mamluk engraved brass basin from the reign of Sultan Qaytbay (1468-96), Egypt, late 15th century
the rounded, slightly convex body with faceted sides leading to a hammered lower ridge, the central band with alternating cartouches containing calligraphic inscriptions and entwined split-arabesques between bands of foliate designs, the underside hammered with s-shaped grooves containing vegetal and abstrac patterns, featuring heraldic blazons to sides, centre of interior and underside
13cm. height.
36cm. diam.
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Catalogue Note

inscriptions

Repetition of: ‘The High authority, the Lordly, the Great Amir’.

Later owner’s name, possibly Yar Baba.

This bowl, and the previous lot, display features typical of late fifteenth-century Mamluk metalwork production. The division into compartments, sometimes filled with inscriptions and sometimes with purely decorative motifs, is a recurrent trope of Royal Mamluk metalwork and Veneto-Saracenic metalwork. A basin dedicated to Qaytbay in the Museum of Islamic Art in Cairo, a basin dedicated to Nasir al-Din Sidi Muhammad, son of Saif al-Din Uzbak, Atabek of Qaytbay, in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (inv.no. 206. 1892), (Melikian-Chirvani 1969, p.118, fig.16), a Veneto-Saracenic bowl in the Poldi Pezzoli Museum in Milan (inv. no. 1657) (Melikian-Chirvani 1969, p.101, fig.1), and a bowl formerly in the M.C. collection (Melikian-Chirvani 1969, p.127 fig.29, current location unknown) all exhibit this feature.

It seems that many basins and bowls produced during this late flowering of Mamluk metalwork were made as if to be displayed by showing their bottom facing upwards. The commonly-seen radial swirls end in a reverse apex at the bottom, as witnessed in the two bowls here. Similar treatment is found on a variety of bowls, for example on the Qaytbay bowl in the Victoria and Albert Museum (inv. no. 1325–1856) and on the Veneto-Saracenic bowl by Zayn al-din Ibn Zanbu‘ah in the Khalili Collection (MTW 527, Behrens-Abouseif 2005, p.168, fig.13). Another recurrent feature of this period is the density of decoration, characteristic of production under Qaytbay. The present bowl also displays the composite floral detail comprising three oval petals from which three fleurons emerge, a design motif classified by Melikian-Chirvani as 'the signature of the period'.

We are grateful to Dr Sami de Giosa for his assistance in cataloguing these two lots.

Arts of the Islamic World

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London