brass, cast and spun, inlaid with silver, chased and engraved
9 x 17cm
The sides bear a dedication to the Mamluk sultan al-Malik al-Nasir Muhammad ibn Qala’un (third reign 709–741 AH/ 1310–1341 AD), broken by medallions with the words al-malik at the centre, a shortened version of his personal blazon, ‘Glory to His Majesty the Sultan, al-Malik al-Nasir’. The base is divided into panels filled variously with chinoiserie lotuses, whirling rosettes, arabesques and inscription blazons, with a finely worked roundel at the centre depicting three pelicans with outstretched wings and a further inscription blazon at its centre. The pelican, not a common motif in Mamluk art, may derive from illustrated bestiaries, or books of beasts, popular in the 13th and 14th centuries. On the rim is a procession of animals, including a unicorn, sphinx and elephant.
J.M. Rogers, The Arts of Islam. Masterpieces from the Khalili Collection, London 2010, cat.117, p.104.