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Artist Culture
Mamluk period, 1250–1517
mid-14th century
Brass with silver and gold inlay
Associated with
Northern Africa, Egypt, Africa
Containers, metalwork
Current Location
On View, Gallery 120
9 1/4 x 21 7/8 in. (23.5 x 55.6 cm)
Credit Line
Museum Purchase
Public Domain
Object Number
This magnificent basin was used for washing, in conjunction with a pitcher. The teeming fish swimming around the bottom of the interior reflect its function, as the water would splash over them. The stately Arabic inscriptions encircling the exterior of the basin and its interior rim indicate it was created for a high-ranking officer of the Mamluk ruler al-Malik al-Nasir (ruled 1293–1341). The Mamluks ruled Egypt and Syria from 1250 to 1517. In 1322 they signed a peace treaty with the Mongols, opening the way to trade with China. Contact with China introduced new motifs, such as the lotus flowers in the roundels on this basin.
Ghazi Ahmed, Yemen [1]

- 1927
Arthur Upham Pope (1881–1969), San Mateo, CA, USA [2]

1927 -
Saint Louis Art Museum, purchased from Arthur Upham Pope [3]

[1] Per undated Bill of Sale from Arthur Upham Pope [SLAM document files].

[2] See note [1]. The Minutes state that Dikran G. Kelekian sold the basin to the Museum; however, a memo from James B. Musick corrects that error. The Museum actually purchased the basin from Arthur Upham Pope [Minutes of the Administrative Board of Control of the City Art Museum, April 22, 1927; memo, September 13, 1927, SLAM document files].

[3] See note [2].
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