Historical Reference

Mamluk Fountain 15th Century Cairo

Mamluk Fountain 15th Century Cairo

Mamluk Fountain 15th Century Cairo

The reception room of an Arab house had a special feature in the form of a central fountain with basin usually sunk below the floor. On these fountains the worker in mosaic often did his best work and displayed the finest resources of his craftsmanship. Other points at which mosaic was introduced were borders of doorways and wall panels entitled to special honor. A large fountain in the University- Museum that I (Gordon) obtained in Cairo in 1919 and a smaller one obtained at the same time and place, are from Cairo houses of the 15th century and are superb examples of mosaic in its application to floors and fountains.
Arabic Art By George Byron Gordon In University of Pennsylvania The Museum Journal Volume XIII The University Museum Philadelphia 1922

 JBOC: I am drawn to the four cups in the basin floor of the fountain. When we look at look at Mamluk art with representations of cups I have to note the Mosque lamp with the inscription of Sayf al-din Qawsun cup-bearer to Sultan al Nasir Ibn Mohammad Qalaun. This lamp in the collection of the Victorian and Albert Museum London U.K. has 6 cups which is seen as a reference to Qawsun's status as cup-bearer to the Sultan. This may well have the same sort of significance.It is tempting to try to equate this with the cup in the Blazon of 15th century Sultan al-ashraf Qa'itbey but it is stylistically different and not flanked by the pen-boxes. Stylistically the cup itself is closer to the cup design in theFitzwilliam Museum 14th Century Mosque lamp.

ref. Guide to Mamluk Art and Iznik Tile and Plates the O'Connell Guide

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