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Not currently on display at the V&A

Stand

ca. 1350 to 1400 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Brass stand for a tray for serving food. It consists of two truncated cones of brass joined at their narrow ends, with a flat circular rim at the wider ends. The rims are both decorated on the upper side only. The two 'cones' have roughly the same decoration: the main element is a large inscription in Arabic, in the thulth style, in two sections divided by two large roundels with cusped edges. The roundels contain lotus ornament surrounding an epigraphic blazon that contains the wording "al-Malik al-Na[sir]". The main inscription consists of fragments of a set of official titles, with a first section reading, "al-maqarr al-'ali al-maw[lawi]" or "al-mawlaw[i]". The texts in the second sections differ.

Above and below the main inscriptions are bands divided into compartments filled with lotus ornament. At the top of the lower 'cone', there is a further band containing a repeat pattern. It is likely that a similar band once decorated the upper 'cone' but has been removed, along with the torus moulding that would have joined the two 'cones' at their narrow ends. As a result, the top half now measures roughly 20.7 cm in height, while the lower half measures about 24 cm in height. This means, too, that the diameter of the two halves does not match where they are now joined -- the top half at its base is wider than the diameter of the bottom half at its top. The top half has therefore been fitted over the bottom half, and the two have been soldered together.

The stand would presumably have been inlaid with silver and a black compound over much of its surface, as about 100 small areas of silver inlay survive, as well as some of the black inlay.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Hammered brass with traces of silver inlay
Brief Description
Brass stand for a tray, with silver inlay. Mamluk, Egypt or Syria, 14th century.
Physical Description
Brass stand for a tray for serving food. It consists of two truncated cones of brass joined at their narrow ends, with a flat circular rim at the wider ends. The rims are both decorated on the upper side only. The two 'cones' have roughly the same decoration: the main element is a large inscription in Arabic, in the thulth style, in two sections divided by two large roundels with cusped edges. The roundels contain lotus ornament surrounding an epigraphic blazon that contains the wording "al-Malik al-Na[sir]". The main inscription consists of fragments of a set of official titles, with a first section reading, "al-maqarr al-'ali al-maw[lawi]" or "al-mawlaw[i]". The texts in the second sections differ.



Above and below the main inscriptions are bands divided into compartments filled with lotus ornament. At the top of the lower 'cone', there is a further band containing a repeat pattern. It is likely that a similar band once decorated the upper 'cone' but has been removed, along with the torus moulding that would have joined the two 'cones' at their narrow ends. As a result, the top half now measures roughly 20.7 cm in height, while the lower half measures about 24 cm in height. This means, too, that the diameter of the two halves does not match where they are now joined -- the top half at its base is wider than the diameter of the bottom half at its top. The top half has therefore been fitted over the bottom half, and the two have been soldered together.



The stand would presumably have been inlaid with silver and a black compound over much of its surface, as about 100 small areas of silver inlay survive, as well as some of the black inlay.
Style
Production typeUnique
Object history
Bought from the collection of Gaston de Saint-Maurice (1831-1905) in 1884. Saint-Maurice displayed his extensive art collection at the 1878 Paris exhibition, in a gallery entitled L'Egypte des Khalifes. This was part of an official sequence of displays celebrating the history of Egypt, presented by the Egyptian state at this international event. Saint-Maurice held a position at the Khedival court, and had lived in Cairo in 1868-1878. Following the exhibition, Saint-Maurice offered his collection for sale to the South Kensington Museum (today the V&A).
Associations
Collection
Accession Number
935-1884

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record createdDecember 7, 2004
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