London, England, United Kingdom
Victoria and Albert Museum
Between hegira 872–901 / AD 1468–96
Height 15.4 cm, diameter 40.6 cm
A deep-sided brass bowl engraved and inlaid with silver; the bottom has been hammered (repoussé) into a radiating palmette design. The major element of the bowl's decoration are the large cartouches which carry majestic calligraphic inscriptions reading, 'Glory to our lord, the Sultan, the just ruler, the holy warrior, the guardian of the frontiers, the aided [by God], the victorious, sultan of Islam and the Muslims, al-Malik al-Ashraf Abu'l-Nasr Qaytbay'. Smaller roundels between these cartouches also praise Qaytbay and add the phrase 'may his victory be glorious', implying that he is still alive. It seems likely that this exquisite bowl was made as a basin for hand-washing for the personal use of Sultan Qaytbay. The style and quality of the decoration are characteristic of the revival of the arts under the relatively peaceful and prosperous reign of Qaytbay.View Short Description
A deep-sided brass bowl, hammered and engraved with decoration including the name and titles of Sultan Qaytbay. Since the inscriptions imply that he is still alive, the bowl may well have been made for his personal use as a hand-washing basin.
The inscription names Sultan Qaytbay and implies that he is still ruling ('may his victory be glorious'). Thus the bowl is dated to his reign between 872–901 / 1468–96.
Purchased by the Museum in 1856.
Cairo was the Mamluk capital and thus the likeliest place that an object of such quality would have been made.
Stanley, T., with Rosser-Owen, M. and Vernoit, S., Palace and Mosque: Islamic Art from the Middle East, London, 2004, p.56, p.98, p.134 and plate 112.
Barry Wood "Bowl" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2019. http://islamicart.museumwnf.org/database_item.php?id=object;ISL;uk;Mus02;13;en
Prepared by: Barry WoodBarry Wood
Barry Wood is Curator (Islamic Gallery Project) in the Asian Department of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. He studied history of art at Johns Hopkins University and history of Islamic art and architecture at Harvard University, from where he obtained his Ph.D. in 2002. He has taught at Harvard, Eastern Mediterranean University, the School of Oriental and African Studies, and the Courtauld Institute of Art. He has also worked at the Harvard University Art Museums and the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore. He has published on topics ranging from Persian manuscripts to the history of exhibitions.
Copyedited by: Mandi Gomez
MWNF Working Number: UK2 13
Islamic Dynasties / Period
On display in
Virtual Visit Exhibition Trail
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