Casket with a reused Fatimid base
Sicily, 1200–50; base probably Cairo about 1150
Museum no. 700-1884
This casket illustrates the presence of Egyptian works of art in Sicily. Its base was formed from a cut-down panel. It is made from wood incrusted with small, shaped pieces of ivory, set into a dark resin, a technique which relates to a small group of objects made in Fatimid Egypt, probably in the early 12th century. Perhaps the original object from which this panel came was worn out or broken with use but, as an exotic import, was too highly valued to be thrown away, so it was trimmed down and reused.