Inlaid brass bowl with cover
Egypt or Syria
Signed by Master Mahmud al-Kurdi
Museum no. 2290-1855
Mamluk production of brasswares decoration with silver resumed in the reign of Sultan Qa'itbay (1468–96), who has been credited with the revival of several traditional crafts and the introduction of others. One type of brassware produced in this period is decorated with larger arabesque and knot motifs, slightly raised above the surface and overlaid with silver. The spaces between are filled with a tiny pattern of arabesques.
During the late 15th and early 16th century large numbers of such items were exported to Italy and other European countries. Later these imports were copied by Venetian craftsmen, and it can be difficult to tell the difference between these and the Mamluk originals. This example, however, was signed by its maker, Mahmud al-Kurdi, in Arabic, and it was mostly likely made in Egypt. Mahmud signed several other pieces and seems to have played a leading role in this industry.