Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Box

Date:
second half 14th century
Geography:
Attributed to Egypt or Syria
Medium:
Brass; engraved and originally inlaid with silver
Dimensions:
H. 2 1/8 in. (5.4 cm)
Diam. 5 1/4 in. (13.3 cm)
Classification:
Metal
Credit Line:
Edward C. Moore Collection, Bequest of Edward C. Moore, 1891
Accession Number:
91.1.560
Not on view
A series of intertwined cartouches run around this small brass box: four circular and four oblong. Two of the oblong cartouches contain Arabic inscriptions set within a dense vegetal background. The use of lotus flowers can be seen in the other two oblong cartouches and in a more stylized form in two of the circular cartouches. The remaining two circular cartouches are decorated with a knot terminating in four flower buds, perhaps lotus blossoms. Above the cartouches, the lip of the box, which is convex in profile, is simply ornamented with a geometric zigzag design. Much of the silver inlay has been lost, obscuring the original sharply contrasting lines in silver and brass and decreasing the clarity of the ornament. The fine stippling, which would have held the silver sheets in place, and the black outline have been preserved well. The interior is decorated with a circular motif of fishes, similar in style to a bowl in the collection (91.1.534). The box is designed in characteristic Mamluk style but the slightly crude execution of the design and the illegibility of the calligraphy might indicate that it was made for a less wealthy patron
Inscription: Arabic; translation: "The Mamluk ... the late ... ". Copy of transcription and translation in curatorial file.
Edward C. Moore, New York (until d. 1891; bequeathed to MMA)
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