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HOME : Islamic Art : Islamic Collection/HK : Bronze Islamic Candle Stick
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Bronze Islamic Candle Stick - RL.0824
Origin: Turkey
Circa: 1300 AD to 1500 AD

Collection: Islamic Art
Style: Mamluk

Additional Information: Hong Kong

Location: UAE
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The Mamluk sultanate (1250–1517) emerged from the weakening of the Ayyubid realm in Egypt and Syria (1250– 60). Ayyubid sultans depended on slave (Arabic: mamluk, literally “owned,” or slave) soldiers for military organization, yet mamluks of Qipchaq Turkic origin eventually overthrew the last independent Ayyubid sultan in Egypt, Turan Shah (r. 1249–50), and established their own rule. Their unusual political system did not rely entirely on family succession to the throne—slaves were also recruited into the governing class. Following the defeat of Mongol armies at the Battle of ‘Ain Jalut (1260), the Mamluks inherited the last Ayyubid strongholds in the eastern Mediterranean. Within a short period of time, the Mamluks created the greatest Islamic empire of the later Middle Ages, which included control of the holy cities Mecca and Medina. The Mamluk capital, Cairo, became the economic, cultural, and artistic center of the Arab Islamic world. Mamluk decorative arts— especially enameled and gilded glass, inlaid metalwork, woodwork, and textiles —were prized around the Mediterranean as well as in Europe, where they had a profound impact on local production.

From the late 6th/12th through the early 10th/16th century the candlestick was one of the most common types of implement produced as a luxury metalware in Iran. Fabricated of bronze or brass, cast or raised from sheet, and inlaid with precious metal or tinned over to produce a silvery surface, the form, decoration, and epigraphic program of these illuminating devices reflect contemporary trends in Iranian metalwork. Despite variations in size, tech¬nique, form, and decoration, the candlestick is generally composed of a hollow, upward-tapering base, with a clearly articulated shoulder, from the top of which rises the socket and cylindrical candle-holder. In this example, the bronze candlestick is beautifully engraved with Islamic motifs, and there is a miniature of a horse-riding scene on base of the candlestick. Such candle¬sticks, regardless of their size or weight, were evidently quite portable, as is indicated by contemporary Persian miniature painting, in which they are depicted in tents or in outdoor settings, as well as by the fact that the actual lighting fixtures are often dedicated to religious shrines located at a great distance from where the candlesticks are manufactured.

Linda Komaroff, (December 1990) “CANDLESTICKS,” Encyclopaedia Iranica, IV/7, pp. 751-755, available online at http://www.iranicaonline. org/articles/candlesticks Retrieved on 24 June 2019.

Yalman, Suzan. (October 2001) “The Art of the Mamluk Period (1250–1517).” In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. http://www.metm Retrieved on 24 June 2019 - (RL.0824)


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