219. A Mamluk Tile

Syria, mid-15th century AD
Size: 19 cm high

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This tile, underglaze painted in blue on white with the image of an Oud, is one of only four known tiles of the period showing musical instruments. One, in the Damascus National Museum, shows a rectangular spike-fiddle (see: Esin Atil, Renaissance of Islam, The Art of the Mamluks, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., 1981, no. 91). The two others are in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (see: John Carswell, Some Fifteenth Century Hexagonal Tiles from the Near East, Victoria and Albert Museum Yearbook 3, 1972); and the American University of Beirut (see: D. Mackay, A Guide to the Archaeological Collections in the University Museum, Beirut, 1951).