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  • Place of origin:

    Italy (made)
    Venice (probably, made)

  • Date:

    1540-1550 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    brass chased and overlaid

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Islamic Middle East, Room 42, The Jameel Gallery, case 5

Many metal wares that are referred to as ‘Veneto-Saracenic’ were in fact produced in Islamic lands. But this broad-rimmed dish was clearly made by a Venetian. We know this because of the character of ‘arabesque’ ornament that is engraved and inlaid on the surface. This has a tendency to form European-looking cartouches, volutes and shields.

Physical description

Round brass dish with broad rim, decorated with silver wire in a European imitation of arabesque designs.

Place of Origin

Italy (made)
Venice (probably, made)


1540-1550 (made)



Materials and Techniques

brass chased and overlaid


Diameter: 49.5 cm, Height: 5 cm

Historical context note

Much so-called "Veneto-Saracenic" metalwork was actually produced in Mamluk lands for export to Europe. This example, though, is the product of a Venetian craftsman working in a Mamluk-inspired idiom, as can be seen in the highly Europeanizing arabesque.

Descriptive line

Brass charger with 'Veneto-Saracenic' decoration, Italy (probably Venice), 1540-50.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Sievernich, Gereon, and Budde, Hendrik, Europa und der Orient 800-1900 , Berlin, 1989. Catalogue of the exhibition, 28 May - 27 August, 1989. Catalogue entry 4/100 pp603-4, (Ill.227, p203)
Ward-Jackson, Peter. 'Some main streams and Tributaries in European Ornament (1500 to 1750). The Arabesque' In: Victoria and Albert Museum Bulletin, Vol.3, 3, 1967. pp. 90-103
James Allan, Metalwork of the Islamic World: The Aron Collection (London: Sotheby's, 1986), p. 60.
Tim Stanley (ed.), with Mariam Rosser-Owen and Stephen Vernoit, Palace and Mosque: Islamic Art from the Middle East, London, V&A Publications, 2004

Labels and date

Jameel Gallery

Brass Charger
Italy, probably Venice

This charger was made in Italy, where it was decorated in the Veneto-Saracenic style. Its Italian origin is clear from its European shape and from the details of the decoration. The knotwork, for instance, resembles designs by European painters such as Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528). It is much more elaborate than Islamic examples.

Brass and silver wire

Museum no. 259-1894 [Jameel Gallery]
Brass damascened in silver
ITALIAN (Venice); 1540-50
This dish is damascened; a technique which involved decorating engraved iron, brass or steel with gold or silver wire. The technique originated in Damascus and was mostly used by Islamic craftsmen. The style of this dish is similar to work by Sain ad-Din who made the bucket (1826-1888) shown in this case. The dish could have been made either by and Islamic artist working in Venice or by a Venetian who had trained with an Islamic master. [Used until 06/2004]
Brass, engraved and inlaid with silver
Venetian-Saracenic; early 16th century []


Silver; Brass


Engraving (incising)




Metalwork Collection

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