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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Dimensions

Diameter: 8.300 cm (base)
Height: 13.000 cm

Museum number

ME OA 1878.12-30.721

RRM16688

Bequeathed by John Henderson

Location

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