Basin, Ayyubid Period

Basin, Ayyubid Period, Syria

Inscriptions on the interior and exterior of this extraordinary basin suggest that it was created during the reign of Sultan al-Malik al-Salih Najmuddin Ayyub, the last Ayyubid ruler, who reigned during the 1230s and 1240s. The work is particularly notable for its elaborate decoration which includes both Islamic and Christian themes. On the exterior, a wide inscription band depicts scenes from the life of Christ: The Annunciation, the Virgin and Child enthroned, the Raising of Lazarus, the Entry into Jerusalem, and perhaps the Last Supper. Some of the other motifs on the exterior consists of a lively polo game and a band of real and imaginary animals, punctuated by medallions with musicians. On the interior, a row of thirty-nine saints stands under ogival arches. Whether commissioned by a Muslim or Christian patron, the combination implies religious tolerance in thirteenth century Ayyubid Syria.

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