National Gallery of Art - EXHIBITIONS

Image: Artistic Exchange: Europe and the Islamic World

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Veneto-Islamic 16th Century
A Bowl
mid 16th-century, bronze, medium brown patina, 5.2 x 14.2 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington
Samuel H. Kress Collection

Syrian and Egyptian metalwork was greatly admired in Italy and was imported for centuries. This bowl is decorated with Islamic arabesques but was produced in Venice during the sixteenth century. Like many Venetian pieces and contemporary Islamic imports, the spaces between the incised motifs are filled with a contrasting black substance. Earlier Islamic work used silver inlays. The vessel's shape--lacking curves on the sides, a lip, or a foot ring--is unparalleled in either Venetian or Islamic metalwork. The addition of the name "Hatim," roughly incised in legible Arabic on the inside bottom is puzzling.

Compare the arabesque designs with those on the brass ewer from the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, in the Palace and Mosque: Islamic Art from the Victoria and Albert Museum exhibition.

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