Name of Object:



London, England, United Kingdom

Holding Museum:

Victoria and Albert Museum

 About Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Date of Object:

Between hegira 872–901 / AD 1468–96

Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Inlaid brass.


Height 15.4 cm, diameter 40.6 cm

Period / Dynasty:



Probably Cairo.


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.

Original Owner:

Sultan Qaytbay

How date and origin were established:

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.

How Object was obtained:

Purchased by the Museum in 1856.

How provenance was established:

Cairo was the Mamluk capital and thus the likeliest place that an object of such quality would have been made.

Selected bibliography:

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.

Citation of this web page:

Barry Wood "Bowl" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2021.;ISL;uk;Mus02;13;en

Prepared by: Barry Wood
Copyedited by: Mandi Gomez

MWNF Working Number: UK2 13