View right to left
profile: Basin 3/4 profile: Basin base: Basin


Historical period(s)
Ayyubid period, Reign of Sultan Najmal-Din Ayyub, 1247-1249
Brass, inlaid with silver
H x W x D: 22.5 x 50 x 50 cm (8 7/8 x 19 11/16 x 19 11/16 in)
Syria, Probably Damascus
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
Inscriptions on the interior and exterior of this extraordinary basin suggest that it was created during the reign of Sultan al-Malik al-Salih Najmuddin Ayyub, the last Ayyubid ruler, who reigned during the 1230s and 1240s. The work is particularly notable for its elaborate decoration which includes both Islamic and Christian themes. On the exterior, a wide inscription band depicts scenes from the life of Christ: the Annunciation, the Virgin and Child enthroned, the Raising of Lazarus, the Entry into Jerusalem, and perhaps the Last Supper. Some of the other motifs on the exterior consists of a lively polo game and a band of real and imaginary animals, punctuated by medallions with musicians. On the interior, a row of thirty-nine saints stands under ogival arches. Whether commissioned by a Muslim or Christian patron, the combination implies religious tolerance in thirteenth-century Ayyubid Syria.
Provenance information is currently unavailable
On View Location
Currently not on view
Metalwork, Vessel
Ayyubid period (1171 - 1250), chasing, hammering, inlay, kufic script, Lathe work, naskh script, Syria, turning, WWII-era provenance
Collection(s) Area
Arts of the Islamic World
Web Resource(s)
Google Cultural Institute

Rights Statement
Copyright with museum

The Freer|Sackler is closed for renovation and reinstallation. The popular exhibition Turquoise Mountain: Artists Transforming Afghanistan is still on view in the International Gallery. (Enter through the Ripley Center.) Join us for our reopening celebration on October 14–15, 2017.