Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History



  • Tray made for the Rasulid sultan al-Mu'ayyad Dawud ibn Yusuf, Rasulid period (1228–1454), early 14th century
    Egypt, Cairo
    Brass; engraved and inlaid with silver and black compound

    Diam. 28 in. (71.10 cm), H. 1 1/8 in. (2.9 cm)
    Edward C. Moore Collection, Bequest of Edward C. Moore, 1891 (91.1.605)

    A sultan from Yemen commissioned this tray, which includes his name and titles in a large band surrounding a central medallion with the twelve signs of the Zodiac and personifications of the seven planets. The sign of Pisces, called al-hut ("the big fish") in Arabic, is sometimes shown as a single fish. When its Planetary Lord Jupiter is also illustrated, this male figure sits cross-legged, floating above the curved back of the fish. However, the constellation of Pisces (al-samaktan, "the two fish") also influenced the iconography of the Zodiac sign, which often took the form of the more familiar image of two confronted fish arranged in a circle.

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    On view: Gallery 453
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    Tray made for the Rasulid sultan al-Mu'ayyad Dawud ibn Yusuf, Rasulid period (1228–1454), early 14th century
    Egypt, Cairo
    Brass; engraved and inlaid with silver and black compound

    Diam. 28 in. (71.10 cm), H. 1 1/8 in. (2.9 cm)
    Edward C. Moore Collection, Bequest of Edward C. Moore, 1891 (91.1.605)


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