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Fernand Braudel

Water Siphon

12th century AD
Damascus- Madrasa Nuriyya

It is a form of a siphon, a spout used on water basins which are found throughout Islamic architecture, in old houses, mosques and schools.

This siphon in particular was found in the Madrasa Nuriyya, a medieval college in Old Damascus, built by the Atabek ruler Nur al-Din bin Zangi. Many colleges were constructed during his reign, and they included prayer halls and ablution basins. This example would have been on the basin of Madrasa Nuriyya and it is beautifully crafted in a curving dragon form. Its decorative features indicate the impact of the mythologies of Central Asia, especially China. The body is decorated with embossed stylized floral forms. It was made using a mold.

see also