The Molino Ewer
The Netherlands or Germany, decorated in Venice
Museum no. M.32-1946
This fascinating object, known as the Molino Ewer, demonstrates two different patterns of taste in 15th-century Venice: that for Netherlandish brassware, of which this shape with its handle and spout in the form of dragons is typical, and that for Islamic-style decoration, with which this ewer is covered. A brass ewer imported from Northern Europe may have been sent to Egypt for the decoration to be added. The motifs include elaborate pseudo-Kufic inscriptions, and lotus flowers, a Chinese motif which was introduced to Europe via Mamluk trade routes (it is shown here upside down). On the lid is the coat of arms of the Molino family of Venice, for whom this ewer was so luxuriously adapted.