Vessel Fragment with Cupbearer Blazon

The Show


Vessel fragment with cupbearer blazon 14th–15th centuries, Fustat (medieval Cairo), Egypt Glazed ceramic Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, 1969.2.6

Vessel Fragment with Cupbearer Blazon

The image of a goblet on this ceramic vessel denotes the position of royal cupbearer. Each of the offices of the Mamluk court was represented by such symbols. This sherd in particular possesses two of these official symbols: the cup and the napkin, the latter represented by a pale ochre diamond shape. The napkin is the symbol of the master of the imperial wardrobe. Here, the combination of the two symbols shows that the individual who owned this vessel held both offices. These royal blazons were painted, chiseled, and stitched onto many objects, from ceramic vessels and buildings to glass lamps and carpets.

Bibliography: Grube 1976, 282–292, esp. 285, cat. no. 231; Watson 2004, 408–409 and 412–414; Mayer 1933, 10–11; and Whelan 1988, 220.

Return to the Show