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AN ENGRAVED BRASS CASKET
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AN ENGRAVED BRASS CASKET

PROBABLY SICILY, 12TH CENTURY AND LATER

Details
AN ENGRAVED BRASS CASKET
PROBABLY SICILY, 12TH CENTURY AND LATER
Of rectangular form on four short cusped feet, each corner with an applied brass palmette strip, the flat lid with two hinges with engraved lines and large lobed palmettes, the clasp with similar hinge, with two raised drop-shaped elements and a faceted handle fixed to the lid, with four circular marks indicating an original use as a combination casket, the front and reverse with incised bands of arabesques issuing large trefoils, the interior with reinforced corners and two brass rings remaining from the original system, the hinges probably replaced some time between the 12th and 14th century, the clasp a later replacement, some staining
6¾ x 7 1/8 x 5 1/8in. (16.2 x 18 x 13cm.)
Special Notice

VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 17.5% on the buyer's premium.

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Romain Pingannaud
Romain Pingannaud

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Lot Essay

The rectangular shape of our casket finds its origins in Spanish prototypes such as an ivory casket in the Bargello, datable to late 10th century Spain (The Arts of Islam, exhibition catalogue, London, 1976, p. 152, cat. 148). A Sicilian ivory casket with four dials on the front side, now in the treasury of Sint Servaas in Maastricht, is dated circa 1100. Although of a different shape, flatter and with round borders, it gives an interesting indication for the early date of such devices (Francis Madison, op. cit., p. 157, fig. 10). The decoration of our casket, with its finely engraved stripes with trefoils, can also be compared to that found on another Sicilian casket in Doha, dating circa 1100 (Metalwork Treasures, Doha, 2002, p. 50, cat. 12). For a much more detailed discussion of combination caskets please see the note to lot 16 in this sale.
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