I buy a lot of brass trays—but never before one quite like this. I believe it’s from the Near East, probably Byzantine Turkish, and likely from the early Twentieth Century. It is at once Oriental and Gothic Revival Occidental, and most certainly intended for export or tourist purchase. The border is formed of an incredibly time consuming, pierced “fringe” surrounding a snake-like inner ring. The center of the quatrefoil tray has intricately tooled images of animals and people—slightly whimsical, slightly folk art. As there is a fish at the center of the tray, it may be referencing Christ and the early Christian Church, much of which was formed in modern day Turkey. While there’s a lot I do not (yet) know about this piece, I do know that it is very handsome and represents a lot of time and craftsmanship.
Please come into the shop after 13 December to see this tray—and the rest of my purchases from this most recent buying trip.
More new items in the days to come….