Miniature of the Battle of Hattin

Bibliothèque Nationale FR. 5594 Fol. 197, Sebastian Mamerot, Les Passages fait Outremer, vers 1490

***Virtually the entire Kingdom of Jerusalem passed into Ayyubid hands after their victory against the Crusaders in the Battle of Hattin in 1187


This fragment of a bowl is dated to the 12-13th centuries and may be Egyptian or Syrian in origin. It is associated with the development and popularization of underglaze painting in a style often called Raqqa ware. The surviving decoration on the internal base of the bowl is a hare in motion within a dotted and lined border. The hare is outlined in black with large areas of blue and some areas of red-brown. The black pigment is chromite, the blue cobalt and the red-brown is likely a ferric-oxide.

The previous restoration, which included overpaint, fill, and adhesive, was removed from the object following chemical testing and identification. The dark staining prevalent on the left half of the ceramic was tested for solubility using various cleaning agents and poultice materials. Several generally effective approaches did not mobilize the stain, indicating that it may be iron. A chelator was then used to specifically target this stain by binding to the iron. After clearing the object to remove all treatment residues, the two pieces were adhered with a reversible acrylic. The area of loss was then filled and in-painted based on conversations with the curator.

Posted by Kate McEnroe 

ISLAMIC, SALADIN. Ayyubids. Egypt. al-Nasir I Salah al-Din Yusuf (Saladin). AH 564-589 / AD 1169-1193. AE Dirhem (30mm, 13.32 g, 3h). Unlisted (Mayyafariqin[?]) mint. Dated AH 586 (AD 1215/6). Male enthroned facing, holding globus; name and titles of al-Nasir I Salah al-Din Yusuf (Saladin) in outer margin / Name and titles of Abbasid caliph in three lines; partial mint formula and AH in outer margins. Whelan Type III, 258-60; Balog, Ayyubids 182; Album 791.4. Possibly an image of the great Saladin though this is not certain.

“Saladin was the first Sultan of Egypt and Syria and the founder of the Ayyubid dynasty. A Muslim of Kurdish origin, Saladin led the Muslim opposition to the European Crusaders in the Levant. He is well known in the west from his battles and relationship with Richard the Lionheart of England. At the height of his power, his sultanate included Egypt, Syria, Mesopotamia, Hejaz, Yemen, and other parts of North Africa

What stories are etched into this brass #basin inlaid with #silver? Find out more about the #Syrian object—created during the reign of the last #Ayyubid sultan, Al-Salih Ayyub (1205–49)—by reading youth and family programs educator Matthew Lasnoski’s #FridayFave. bento.si.edu

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Muhammad Ibn Al-Zayn, Basin (Baptistere de Saint Louis) c. 1300

Possibly the greatest piece of Islamic metalwork, this Mamluk basin, executed in the Ayyubid tradition was signed by Al-Zayn six times for he was so proud of it.  Originally created to be used as a wash basin between meals, the basin eventually ended up as the baptismal font of the French Royalty.  It was likely commissioned by Emir Salar as a gift for the Sultan.  Bronze inlaid with gold and silver (damascene), the basin’s iconography depicts a princely cycle of court life.  A procession of emirs as well as hunting scenes dot the narrative.  Showing Egyptian servants, Mamluk Emirs and Mongols, the scene may depict actual events due to its specificity or could be merely symbolic.  Regardless, the scenes are generally laudatory.  The roundels depict acts of furu siyya or chivalry.  The basin contains blazons, Mamluk coats-of-arms and Fleur de Lys which may have been added later.  A misnomer in more than one way, the Basin was made after St. Louis’ death, but its decoration of unparalleled richness kept it in such high esteem among European courts.

(image courtesy of puc-rio.br)

A few peoples who WERE colonialists in the land of Israel:

1. Romans

2. Arabs

3. Crusaders (with some overlap by the Ayyubids)

4. Mamluks

5. Turks

6. British Empire

Each and every one of those fits the definition of a foreign element that conquers the land for the benefit of a far-away empire. 

Each and every one.

Each one oppressed and persecuted the Jews in it own special way.   So much so that in a few cases, when the new conqueror appeared, Jews assumed the Messiah had come to save them. 


Qalamdan (pen-case or pen-box) from Abbasid and Ottoman empires

The bottom picture is the tools of an Ottoman katib (read the caption to know which tool is which). The pen-case has an ink well which holds silk fibers soaked with ink and dried to which drops of water can be added when needed. If you look closely at the pen-rest, there is a raised and grooved part for the reed pen to rest. The groove was designed in a way that the tip of the reed pen could be trimmed at an angle consistently each time. The handles of the scissors were shaped to bear one of the names of Allah “Ya Fattah!” (O He Who opens!).


Good Morning from the Citadel of Aleppo 

Castle of Aleppo or قلع حلب :is a large medieval fortified palace in the centre of the old city of Aleppo, northern Syria. It is considered to be one of the oldest and largest castles in the world. Usage of the Citadel hill dates back at least to the middle of the 3rd millennium BC. Subsequently occupied by many civilizations including the Greeks, Byzantines, Ayyubids and Mamluks, the majority of the construction as it stands today is thought to originate from the Ayyubid period. An extensive conservation work has taken place in the 2000s by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture in collaboration with Aleppo Archeological Society. Dominating the city, the Citadel is part of the Ancient City of Aleppo, aUNESCO World Heritage Site since 1986. (Info from wikipedia)

Picture above shows part of the castle and its fortified entrance. Left picture is of the Theatre of the castle and the right picture is of the Museum.