Glass; free blown, enameled and gilded; tooled on the pontil; H. 7/8 in. (2.2 cm), Diam. 8 3/4 in. (22.2 cm)
Edward C. Moore Collection, Bequest of Edward C. Moore, 1891 (91.1.1533)
The spectacular enameled objects produced by Egyptian and Syrian glassmakers in the Ayyubid and Mamluk periods, especially from the mid-thirteenth to the late fourteenth century, are unsurpassed. Flat dishes, such as this fourteenth-century example, were rather uncommon. Its geometric decoration unfolds on two levels, the most immediate represented by the combination of the five tangential circles, drawn in a continuous looping line, that dominate the composition. The second and subtler level is found within the four outer circles, where a complex star pattern was created. The pleasant chromatic contrast of blue, white, and red enamels, and gilding emphasizes the basic elements of both the geometric and the vegetal motifs in this complex design.