Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Basin with Zodiac signs and royal titles

Object Name:
late 13th–early 14th century
Attributed to Egypt or Syria
Brass; engraved and inlaid with silver and black compound
H. 4 1/2 in. (11.4 cm) Diam. 12 3/4 in. (32.4 cm)
Credit Line:
Edward C. Moore Collection, Bequest of Edward C. Moore, 1891
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 453
The bottom of this basin depicts the sun surrounded by all twelve signs on the zodiac and the seven planets of medieval belief. The titles of an unknown noble are arranged around the rim. This basin, with a matching ewer, may have been used for ablutions.
Inscription: Arabic inscription in thuluth script on inner wall; translation: "Happiness, abundance, felicity, honor, glory, permanent prosperity, eternal memory for the illustrious lord"; translation (outside): the same good wishes in Kufic script; translation (scratched inscription): "Malik `Ali Khan... Hasan [probably a later owner]". Another translation (inside): "The glory and the prosperity. The everlasting duration (survive) / To you (ye) patron (the exalted) The-high- / ranked and the generosity and the good fortune innovated"; outside illegible interlaced Kufic.

Copy of transcription and translation in Curatorial file.
Edward C. Moore (American, New York 1827–1891 New York), New York (until d. 1891; bequeathed to MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Following the Stars: Images of the Zodiac in Islamic Art," February 4, 1997–August 31, 1997, no. 3.

Carboni, Stefano. Following the Stars: The Zodiac in Islamic Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997. no. 3, pp. 12-13, ill. (b/w).

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