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Basin inscribed with the name of Bonifilius
Louvre Abu Dhabi
LAD 2011.030|101 x 166 cm
This ablution basin was decorated by the sculptor Bonifilius with various animals of ambivalent symbolic significance: lions, as a symbol of power, were sometimes positive and sometimes negative in the Middle Ages, as were dragons. The porcupine, however, was a symbol of avarice for a long time before coming to represent military valour. Inside the basin is a salamander, a creature that could extinguish any flame. So the decoration evokes the struggle between good and evil, echoing water’s role of purifying the faithful before prayer.