Candlestick Base

Egyptianca. 1290 (Mamluk; Bahri)

The Walters Art Museum

The Walters Art Museum
Baltimore, United States

Throughout Islamic history, sultans, princes, and court officials have been active art patrons. This impressive candlestick base was commissioned by Zayn al-Din Kitbugha, who served as "saqi," or cupbearer, at the court of the Mamluk Dynasty in Egypt before ascending the throne in 1294. The large inscription in "thuluth" script around the candlestick's body is punctuated by roundels featuring a stemmed cup, Kitbugha's blazon, or heraldic shield. Calligraphy is also a major decorative element. In addition to the large "thuluth" inscription, this piece includes different sizes and styles of Arabic script. Despite its elaborate design, Kitbugha had the candlestick made for use in his household storeroom or pantry. The candlestick's neck and socket- today in the Museum of Islamic Art, Cairo- already had been removed when Mr. Walters added the piece to his growing collection of Islamic art.


  • Title: Candlestick Base
  • Creator Nationality: Egyptian
  • Date Created: ca. 1290 (Mamluk; Bahri)
  • Physical Dimensions: h26.5 cm
  • Type: candleholders
  • Rights: Acquired by Henry Walters, 1925, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/
  • External Link: The Walters Art Museum
  • Medium: brass with silver, gold and copper inlays
  • Provenance: Dikran Kelekian, New York and Paris; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1925, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
  • Place of Origin: Egypt
  • Inscriptions: [Transcription] Inscribed base and neck: Zayn al-Din Kitbugha; [Translation] Inscribed base in thuluth script: This is one of the things made for the servery of the lofty authority, the lordly, the great amir, the conqueror, the holy warrior, the just, al-Zayni, Zayn al-Din Kitbugha al-Mansuri al-Ashrafi (of the households of the sultans Qalawun and Khalil)
  • ExhibitionHistory: The Arts of Islam. Hayward Gallery, London. 1976; Renaissance of Islam: Art of the Mamluks. Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington; Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati; The Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit; Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento; San Diego Museum Of Art, San Diego; Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix; Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford. 1981-1983; Highlights from the Collection. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1998-2001
  • Artist: Egyptian

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more

Flash this QR Code to get the app
Google apps