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Brass candlestick inlaid with silver and gold

 

Diameter: 8.300 cm (base)
Height: 13.000 cm

Bequeathed by John Henderson

ME OA 1878.12-30.721

Middle East

    Brass candlestick inlaid with silver and gold

    Mamluk dynasty, late 14th century AD
    From Syria

    Bearing a European coat of arms

    Small candlesticks of this type were made in some quantity in Mamluk Syria (1250-1516). Almost all of them bear European shields with a flat top and pointed base and so were obviously intended for export to Europe. The coat of arms depicted on this example (a bend and in sinister chief a duck) suggests that the candlestick may have been commissioned by the Boldù family, an important merchant family of Venice which had good trading links across the Mediterranean to the Mamluk Empire.

    The three scenes of animal combats between the shields replace the Arabic inscriptions which are usually the main decorative feature on objects made for the Mamluk élite.

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