A Veneto-Saracenic pierced brass Incense Burner Egypt or Syria, mid-15th Century
Lot 47
A Veneto-Saracenic pierced brass Incense Burner Egypt or Syria, mid-15th Century
£10,000 - 15,000
US$ 16,000 - 23,000

Lot Details
A Veneto-Saracenic pierced brass Incense Burner
Egypt or Syria, mid-15th Century
comprising two hemispherical sections, engraved and inlaid with black compound, traces of gold leaf, each part decorated with concentric bands around a central roundel containing a repeated fleur-de-lys design forming a seven-pointed rosette, a band of panels of guilloche and floral guilloche with knot roundels in between, the sides with a large frieze of alternating roundels and oblong knotted panels, the sides with pins and bayonet fastening slots; the inside with two-axis gimbal
12.8 cm. diam.

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    UK private collection.

    Although often thought to be incense burners, it is possible that objects of this type were used as hand-warmers. Numerous references in European inventories show that they were appreciated objects and were used in various contexts by clerics or as objects of vertu.

    The seminal work on Veneto-Saracenic metalwork records 64 incense burners of this form (Auld, Sylvia, Renaissance Venice, Islam and Mahmud the Kurd - a Metalworking Enigma, London, 2004, pp. 108-40). The decorative scheme of this lot relates to an example in the Museo Civico Correr, Venice, classified by Auld as belonging to group A, which is "typically late Mamluk" and was probably made in Syria or Egypt (ibid., p. 122, no. 1.14).

    This incense-burner seems to have been inlaid with gold originally, traces of which can be seen on the surface; silver is also likely to have been used, although none remains.
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