Posted on July 9, 2013 at 1:16 pm


Mamluk Axe

  • Dated: 1495-1499
  • Culture: Egypt-Syria
  • Owner: Sultan Kait Bey (Al-Ashraf Sayf ad-Din Qa’it Bay), Mamluk Sultan of Egypt (1468 – 1495)
  • Medium: iron, gold
  • Measurements: L. 98.6 cm, width 20.5 cm

This is the weapon of a bodyguard of the Sultan Muhammad Ibn Qa’it Bay (Kait Bey), from the Caucasian-turks of the Mamluk period. In the very district cartridge on the axe head stands the following inscription “The Sultan, the victorious king, the father of happiness, Muhammad Ibn Qait Bay, his help may be glorified.” The rectangular four-edged socket is inscribed five times (gilded) with the folowing inscription “Muhammad” in Quadratkufi (Arabic calligraphy).

Source: © Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna

Posted on March 7, 2012 at 10:59 am


Nunali, Jackoposie Oopakak, 1988-1989.

My absolute favourite. Carved out of a full caribou antler and polished stone, it’s truly a piece you have to see in person. Here’s what the placard at the National Gallery says about it:

As if echoing the thoughts of the caribou, an entire worldview, encompassing the living inhabitants of the tundra and sea, is contained within the graceful arcing forms of the full set of antlers. From the base to the tips, rising a meter above and along each of the branches, Jackoposie Oopakak has carved arctic animals and birds, including caribou, polar bears, and whales. Human activities are included as well: fishing, hunting by bow and arrow, cleaning skins, stretching boots, and travelling by dog-sled and kayak. Antler is a medium fairly common in Inuit art, but a full pair of antlers is a rarity. Oopakak demonstrates extraordinary technical skill in his ability to carve figures in this friable material and his training in jewellery-making comes into play in the precise and intricate details.

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