The basin is an example of an object produced for one ceremonial context but later appropriated for another.

Baptistere de Saint Louis

One object that you might want to show, because it is not a ceremonial object in its original form—it was most probably ceremonial in a sense that it was a banquet object—which is actually a huge metal bowl that was taken in 1249 from Egypt to France and it became the baptistery of all the French kings.


100-1400 CE

Master metal craftsman Mohammed ibn al-Zain created this brass basin during the Bahri Mamluk reign (1250–1382). Inlaid with silver and gold, the basin’s wide central, outer band depicts a finely crafted procession of Mamluk emirs, or officials, among them a mace-bearer (jumaqdâr), ax-bearer (tabardân), and bow-bearer (bunduqdâr). Four horsemen in roundels punctuating the procession of dignitaries may be personifications of different aspects of furusiyya, or “horsemanship.” Friezes of animals and coats-of-arms frame this exterior band and decorate the basin’s interior as well.

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artist: mohammed ibn al-zain | origin: egyptian or syrian

How far back?

Point in Timeline | Post 500 CE 80%

2020 | Present