Mamluk gold and silver inlaid brass candlestick


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This exceptional object is a candlestick holder. The piece, which dates to the Mamluk period, was likely produced in Syria between 1320 and 1340. The body of the candlestick is brass, the surface of which has been inlaid with gold and silver in a spectacular decorative scheme.

The candlestick is of tapering conical form with a concave shoulder and a cylindrical neck below a flared, conical mouth. The main body of the candlestick is decorated with two wide cartouches, each infilled with a scrolling arabesque ground surrounding superb thuluth Arabic inscriptions. Between each elongated cartouche is a roundel, each decorated with a geometrical sequence of flying birds. The cartouches are bounded above and below with raised plaited bands, while geometrical friezes adorn the foot and the shoulder.

The concave shoulder is finished with three similar cartouches, each containing further thuluth Arabic inscriptions, and each separated by a roundel containing geometries of birds and lotus leaves. The neck is similarly decorated, as is the exterior surface of the mouth.

The inscriptions on the body of the vase can be translated from the Arabic in English as “The High Authority, the Lordly, the Great Amir, the Just, the Holy Warrior, the Possessor of wealth, the [officer of] al-Malik al-Nasir”, while the inscriptions around the shoulder read “The High Authority, the Lordly, the Great Amir, the Holy Warrior, the Defender, the Protector of Frontiers, the One helped [by God], the [Officer of] al-Malik al-Nasir.”

The piece is a superb and important example of Mamluk decorative art.


Country of Origin
Date of Manufacture
c. 1320 - 1340
18th Century and Earlier
Arabesque, Islamic
Brass, Gold, Silver
Gold, Metallic, Silver


24 cm / 9.4 inches
22 cm / 8.7 inches


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