Rare Mamluk Tinned-copper Dish Bearing The Blazon Of Sultan Al-Muayyad Shaikh

Egypt or Syria - Reign of Sultan al-Muayyad Shaikh (1412-1421) - Diameter: 38 cm


The central calligraphic blazon engraved with the name and titles of Mamluk Sultan al-Muayyad Shaikh, surrounded by four cartouches with thuluth inscriptions, interrupted by four medallions framed by bands of rumi motifs, zigzags and issuing arabesques, outer large band containing intertwining cartouches containing stylized leaves and rumi. The blazon reads: ‘Izz li Mawlāna al-Sultān al-Malik al-Muayyad Abū al-Nasr Shaikh (Glory be on our Lord the Sultan, the King, al-Muayyad Abu al-Nasr Shaikh). The four times repeated inscription in the cartouches reads: ‘Umila min Tātār al-qalīl (Produced by the humble Tatar) Sultan al-Muayyad (r. 1415-21) commissioned the last great Mamluk mosque complex in Cairo. The historian Maqrizi reports that the sultan built this mosque on the site of a prison where he had been incarcerated, having vowed to do so, should he survive (please see Doris Behrens-Abouseif’s Cairo of the Mamluks, London, 2007, pp. 239 & 241). Very little Mamluk metalwork from the period between circa 1400, and the reign of Sultan Qaytbay (r. 1468-96) is known. The present dish with its three line epigraphic blazon of Sultan al-Muayyad Shaikh, providing dating criteria, appears to be a unique survival. The engraving is particularly fine. For a similar three line epigraphic blazon from the reign of Sultan Qaytbay please see Gaston Wiet, Catalogue General du Musee Arabe du Caire – Objets en Cuivre, IFAO, Cairo, 1932, pl. 33.

Provenance: Private UK Collection

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