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Candlestick with Arabic Inscriptions in Thuluth, Naskh, and Kufic Scripts

Arts of the Islamic World

On View: Arts of the Islamic World, 2nd floor
This candlestick bears lengthy Arabic inscriptions that offer good wishes for the fame and long life of the user. The inscriptions are in three styles of Arabic script: the largest band, on the body of the base, is in graceful Thuluth script. A smaller band in Naskh decorates the top rim, while the more angular Kufic script runs around the neck. All of these are embellished with floral elements, most of which were inlaid with silver. Such luxurious metalwares were popular in the aristocratic homes, palaces, and mosques of the Mamluk dynasty, which ruled Egypt and the Levant from 1250 to 1517.

The name Sahib ‘Ali ibn Ishaq is inscribed in very loose script, twice, near the top of the base: this was probably the name of a later owner of the piece, as the inscription is clearly not part of the original decoration.
MEDIUM Copper alloy, punched, engraved, and inlaid with silver
DATES first half of the 14th century
PERIOD Mamluk Period
DIMENSIONS 11 3/4 in. (29.8 cm) diameter: 11 in. (27.9 cm)  (show scale)
INSCRIPTIONS The Arabic inscription on the base of this candlestick reads, "Perpetual glory and prosperity and long life to you, O great master [of] long lived fame. Fame and glory and long life. Nobility everlasting." An abbreviated inscription appears above on the candlestick's socket: "Glory and prosperity and and [sic] long life to you, O great master of long-lived fame."
CREDIT LINE Gift of the Ernest Erickson Foundation, Inc.
PROVENANCE Prior to 1972, provenance not yet documented; before 1972, probably in the collection of Sahib ‘Ali ibn Ishaq; by 1972, acquired by Ernest Erickson of New York, NY; December 16, 1986, gift of Ernest Erickson Foundation, Inc. to the Brooklyn Museum.
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MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Arts of the Islamic World, 2nd floor
CAPTION Candlestick with Arabic Inscriptions in Thuluth, Naskh, and Kufic Scripts, first half of the 14th century. Copper alloy, punched, engraved, and inlaid with silver, 11 3/4 in. (29.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Ernest Erickson Foundation, Inc., 86.227.197. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 86.227.197_PS2.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 86.227.197_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2009
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