Lot 2525. A silver-inlaid brass bowl, Syria, Damascus, mid-13th century; 20cm. diam. Estimate 20,000 — 30,000 GBP. Lot sold 25,000 GBP. Photo Sotheby's 2016.
of rounded form with convex sides, incised and silver-inlaid with a calligraphic band near the rim against a scrolling vegetal ground, interspersed by six roundels containing musicians and courtly figures, a line of short lancet leaves below, interior with central roundel of entwined geometric design and old collector's number 'no.167'.
Provenance: Ex-private collection, Paris, 1960s.
inscriptions: 'Glory and long-life and victory over enemies and lasting life (?) and superiority and higher rank and lasting perfectly for ever [and] rising good-fortune and favour and penetrating command [and] superiority and contentment and affluence and gratitude and praise and favourable time and prayer and...'
Note: The allusion of this inscription to glory, long-life and victory over one's enemy is fitting when viewed in conjunction with its courtly figurative imagery which includes four musicians and two further holding cups. Often appearing on artworks related to the court, musicians formed part of princely cycles alluding to the theme of lavish entertainment, suggesting that this bowl was intended to be used for food, alluding to a celebratory banquet.
Sotheby's. Arts of the Islamic World, London, 19 Oct 2016