This candlestick base is a rare example of inlaid metal vessels made early in the reign of Mamluk Sultan al-Malik al-Nasir Muhammad who reigned intermittently between 1293 and 1341. The candlestick has similar silver-inlaid birds to those on a candlestick also in the name of al-Malik al-Nasir in the al-Sabah collection, dated to the first half of the 14th century (Giovanni Curatola, Art from the Islamic Civilization from the Al-Sabah Collection, Kuwait, Italy, 2010, p.123, no.101). The al-Sabah candlestick is however decorated with an epigraphic blazon of the Sultan which is absent from our candlestick. Rachel Ward considers the appearance of the blazon a feature which first appeared in 1320 but only came into general usage in around 1325 (Rachel Ward, "Brass, Gold and Silver: Metal Vessels Made for Sultan al-Nasir Muhammad. A Memorial Lecture for Mark Zebrowski. Given at the Royal Asiatic Society on 9 May 2002", Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, third series, XIV/1, April 2004, p.64). In place of an epigraphic blazon, our candlestick has a central six-petal overlapping rosette which is a feature that Rachel Ward categorizes as a precursor to the blazon that appears in around 1320. Our candlestick with its scrolling vine and avian forms shows no sign of Chinese influenced decorative motifs such as lotus flowers which became popular towards the end of the 1320s following renewed diplomatic contact with the IlKhanid court in Iran. This would suggest that our candlestick predates the al-Sabah example and represents a rare example of Mamluk inlaid metalwork prior to the arrival of these Chinese decorative influences.
Two similar candlesticks also from the period of al-Malik al-Nasir Muhammad with nearly identical inscriptions were sold in these Rooms, 11 October 2005, lot 39 and 26 April 2005, lot 26.