Name of Object:
London, England, United Kingdom
The British Museum
Date of Object:
About hegira 692–743 / AD 1293–1341
Museum Inventory Number:
Material(s) / Technique(s):
Brass inlaid with silver and gold.
Height 22.7 cm, diameter (of rim) 54 cm
Period / Dynasty:
Egypt or Syria.
A spectacular piece of Mamluk metalwork in the form of a large basin with a flared rim, covered inside and out with silver and gold inlay decoration. A striking thuluth inscription surrounds the central panel of the bowl giving the name and titles of the Mamluk Sultan al-Nasir Muhammad ibn Qalawun, who ruled between AH 692 and 743 / AD 1293 and 1341. This basin is one of a number of metalwork vessels from this period featuring bold inscriptions as the main decorative element. The principal inscription is set against arabesques whose tendrils transform into ducks or birds. Dividing the inscription are three medallions filled with lotus flowers, and a small epigraphic blazon in the centre that reads: ‘Glory to our master, the sultan’. Above and below this central panel are two friezes of floral scrolls alternating with six roundels containing further inscriptions.
View Short Description
A large brass basin covered in silver and gold inlay, probably used as a vessel for ritual ablutions. A bold inscription band around the body of the basin is the main decorative feature, and displays the name and titles of the Mamluk Sultan al-Nasir al-Din Muhammad ibn Qalawun (AH 692–743 / AD 1293–1341).
Sultan al-Nasir Muhammad ibn Qalawun
How date and origin were established:
The object is inscribed with the name Sultan Nasir al-Din Muhammad (r. 692–743 / 1293–1341). He was a great patron of the arts, commissioning many buildings as well as numerous fine objects; this object was made during his reign.
How Object was obtained:
Acquired by the British Museum in 1851.
How provenance was established:
The basin would have been made in Egypt or Syria as both countries were under the rule of the patron, Sultan Nasir al-Din Muhammad.
Atil, E., Renaissance of Islam: Art of the Mamluks, Washington, D.C., 1981, p.89–90, cat. no. 26.
Citation of this web page:
Emily Shovelton "Basin" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2019. http://islamicart.museumwnf.org/database_item.php?id=object;ISL;uk;Mus01;28;en
Prepared by: Emily Shovelton