A rare Fatimid brass Basin Egypt, 12th Century

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Lot 54*
A rare Fatimid brass Basin
Egypt, 12th Century

£ 6,000 - 8,000
US$ 8,000 - 11,000
A rare Fatimid brass Basin
Egypt, 12th Century
cast with flaring sides and flattened rim, the base incised with a central medallion containing an arabesque whorl, the sides with a band of palmettes and a frieze of palmette interlace and mirrored inscription, the exterior undecorated
26 cm. diam.

Footnotes

  • The kufic inscription consists of a repetition of: "Perfect Blessing and (God's) Grace", and, once: "Perfect Blessing and (God's) Grace and Victory".

    Relatively little is known about metalwork from Fatimid Egypt and surviving examples are rare. In the absence of dateable pieces, the late Fatimid period in metal is particularly poorly documented. James Allan has suggested that late Fatimid vessels display concave forms, such as the present lot (James Allan, "Concave or Convex? The Source of Jaziran Metalwork in the Thirteenth Century" in Julian Raby, ed., The Art of Syria and the Jazira 1100-1250, Oxford, 1985, pp. 127-40.

    This lot belongs to a series of cast basins with everted rims, a fine example of which is in the Benaki Museum, Athens (Jonathan M. Bloom, Arts of the City Victorious. Islamic Art and Architecture in Fatimid North Africa and Egypt, New Haven and London, 2007, pp. 170-1, fig. 140). The Benaki basin has similar kufic inscriptions and decoration on the rim, a feature of this small group. Other examples of the type are in the Keir Collection, Richmond (unpublished); and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

    The arabesque frieze on this basin can be paralleled with that on a bucket in the Keir Collection, Ham (Geza Fehervari, Islamic Metalwork of the Eighth to the Fifteenth Century in the Keir Collection, London, 1976, pl. 8, no. 24).
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