Basin with Figural Imagery

Object Name: Basin

Date: early 14th century

Geography: Attributed to probably Iran

Medium: Brass; raised, engraved, inlaid with silver and gold

Dimensions: H. 5 1/8 in. (13.0 cm)
Diam. 20 1/2 in. (51.1 cm)

Classification: Metal

Credit Line: Edward C. Moore Collection, Bequest of Edward C. Moore, 1891

Accession Number: 91.1.521


Large basins for ablution that have a crenellated rim are based on eastern Iranian prototypes of the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries. The best examples, with lavishly inlaid and detailed decoration such as those shown here, seem to have been limited to the Ilkhanid period. Figural scenes illustrating courtly life under the Ilkhanids, indicated by their Mongol robes and headdresses, are common on these basins. Typically, the interior is lavishly ornamented whereas the exterior walls are plain or simply engraved, thus demonstrating that the decoration was enjoyed mostly when these basins were in use.