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Coffee Pot

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Late 15th centurySyria or VeniceBronze

Damascened – that is to say inlayed with silver, copper or gold – metal artefacts from Mamluk Syria or Egypt were the preferred luxurious tableware of the upper classes. In 15th century Europe, they were the most coveted of items. This jug is a wonderful example of how these unique vessels were covered with minute tendrils of vines. The ornamental details are intertwined in several bands. Travellers returned to Italy from bazaars in Cairo or Damascus bringing with them these precious metal objects, gleaming like gold. The popularity of such items inspired the Venetians to copy them. The Venetian Republic was actively trading with the Mamluks and imported these works in relatively large quantities. Brass vessels were sent to Cairo for damascening. This fact often makes it difficult to determine where the unsigned examples of these metal artefacts originated.