The inscription reads: Al-maqarr al-ashraf al-karim al-'ali al-maw- , lawi al-saidi al-makhdumi al-muhtarami al-a'izzi , al-awhadi w'al-faridi al-dhakhiri al-ma- , liki al-humami al-maliki al-ashrafi
(His excellency the most noble, generous, high, masterly, lordly attended, respected, most glorious, most matchless, peerless treasure, posessor of wealth, valiant (follower of) al-malik al-ashraf)
With its original inlay this bowl must have been spectacular. The drawing of the motifs is masterly, notably the decoration on the underside and in the roundels interrupting the inscription. These roundels show traces of having been inlaid with two different metals. The grounds of all the parts are lightly pounced to ensure the metal adheres better. The background is very densely pounced, as are the letters of the inscription. The designs in the roundel are not so densely pounced, in the same way as most of the designs on the underside, excepting the petals of the rosettes and the centres of each palmette. From comparisons with other silver and gold inlaid pieces of the period it can be seen that the tightly stippled areas were prepared for gold; the less tightly for silver (for example a small bowl offered in the Rooms 26 April 1994, lot 312. The note to this lot also discusses the various vessels with the lotus and palmette combination seen on the underside of this bowl). These stippled grounds would indicate that this bowl was a particularly impressive piece, with the entire inscription and the background of the roundels all in gold, with silver used far more extensively on the underside. This profligate use of gold would also explain why the precious metals have all been removed. This has thankfully been done very carefully so there is no other damage or scratching.