A very fine and large Circassian Mamluk Brass engraved Basin – second half of the 15th Century, Qaitbay period – Egypt.
This beautifully engraved and repousséed late Mamluk basin belongs to a small corpus of surviving basins that bear similar features. The first being their polygonal exteriors (13,14,or15 sided) usually heavily engraved with calligraphy showing the rank of the Mamluk to whom it was going to be presented to. In this case the calligraphy reads:
مما عمل برسم المقر الكريمي الكبيري العالي المولوي الاميري الكريمي المالكي المخدومي الهمامي الكبيري النضامي العادلي العالمي العاملي السيدي
السندي المالكي عز انصاره. This indicates a group of elite high-ranked Mamluks.
The second characteristic is the blazon engraved in the centre of the basin, here we find a composite circular blazon divided into 3 parts: the upper bearing a lozenge shape called a “bokja” البقجة indicating the supervisor for the sultan’s apparel; the central part bearing a chalice indicating the taster, meaning the emir who supervised the sultan’s beverages, and inside the chalice is a symbol of an inkwell الدواة indicating the office of the Dawadar, the person responsible for the sultan’s correspondance. Next to the central chalice are 2 gunpowder horns.
This composite blazon is known as the Ashrafiyya group blazon meaning the group of Mamluks serving Sultan alAshraf Qaitbay. Therefore, it belonged to one of this group’s Mamluks and it is impossible to know who the destined owner was specifically.
The base of this basin is spectacular and characteristically designed in a swirling pattern emanating from the central stellar shape and reaching out to the extremeties to meet the polygonal body of the basin. Each unit within these swirling sectors is immaculately engraved with split palmette decorations filling its fields.
The condition is excellent.
Size: 37cm diameter, 13cm Height.