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Late Ayyubid period (about 1171-1260) or early Mamluk period (1250-1517)




2nd half of 13th c.


Engraved brass, originally with silver, copper and/or gold inlay


23.5 cm (h.), 52 cm (diam.)


Purchase, gift of F. Cleveland Morgan, inv. 1917.Ea.1


Archeology and World Cultures

This large hemispheric bowl was made for al-Nasir Salah al-Din Yusuf, the Ayyubid Sultan of Aleppo and Damascus, who was the great grandson of Salah al-Din, or Saladin, the founder of the Ayyubid dynasty and a prominent historical figure during the Crusades. Intricately crafted, this bowl is a monumental treasure and the highlight of the Museum’s collection. Its exquisite decorative program demonstrates a proclivity towards a style of decoration in which script, image and pattern are harmoniously brought together. The ornate script eulogizes al-Nasir and bestows well wishes upon him. The figurative scenes that adorn the middle register are characteristic of the princely cycle and include an enthroned prince surrounded by scenes of royal activities and pleasures. Motifs of planets and their attributes on the bowl further reveal the widespread popularity of celestial and astrological symbolism in medieval Islamic art.

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