Museum of Mediterranean and Near Eastern Antiquities (Medelhavsmuseet)
Hegira 8th century / AD 14th century
Glass; enamelled and gilded.
Length 5 cm, diameter about 4 cm
Egypt or Syria.
The fragment of thick, bubbled glass shows an enamelled and gilded decoration consisting of an inscription written in a tall cursive style outlined in red against a blue background. Two gilded bands, also outlined in red, frame the inscription that can be read as 'izz li-mawlana (glory to our lord). The colours are partly painted one upon the other so that they give information about the working process. First, the gilded script, from which only slight remains are preserved, and the gilded upper and lower border were executed. Then the letters and the framed borders were outlined in red. Finally, the background was painted in blue. The colours were applied cold and fixed by firing at a low temperature. The routinely executed enamelling of this fragment suggests that these kinds of glass bottle were produced in large quantities for everyday use. The fragment of round cross-section might have been part of a glass bottle with a tall neck, like surviving Mamluk glass bottles, with a decoration scheme corresponding to the gold-framed inscription of the fragment. The slightly flaring sides and the rimless opening indicate that it was the upper part of the neck.
In the Mamluk period, enamelled glass, whose technique was developed between the AH 6th and 9th centuries / AD 12th and 15th centuries, was manufactured in Egypt and Syria. Red and blue, in combination with gold, were the most prominent colours.
Fragment of thick glass. Its enamelled and gilded inscription reads ‘glory to our lord’. The fragment probably belonged to a bottle with tall neck. In Mamluk times, glass objects were manufactured in Egypt and Syria, predominantly with red and blue colours combined with gold.
The use of red for outlines, blue for inscriptions or large areas, and gold for smaller sections became the rule by the middle of the 8th / 14th century.
Gift from the Swedish art historian C. J. Lamm (1902–82) to the National Museum of Fine Arts, Stockholm. The so-called Fustat collection of more than 4,000 fragments of glass was purchased by Lamm in Cairo from the art dealer Ismail Faradj.
Enamelled and gilded glass objects are characteristic products of Mamluk glass manufacture in Egypt and Syria.
Carboni, S., Glass from Islamic Lands: The Al-Sabah Collection, London, 2001.
Lamm, C. J., Mittelalterliche Gläser und Steinschnittarbeiten aus dem Nahen Osten, 2 vols., Berlin, 1929–30.
Scanlon, G. T. and Pinder-Wilson, R., Fustat Glass of the Early Islamic Period, London, 2001.
Ward, R., Gilded and Enamelled Glass from the Middle East, London, 1998.
Friederike Voigt "Glass fragment" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2018. http://www.discoverislamicart.org/database_item.php?id=object;ISL;se;Mus01;12;en
Prepared by: Friederike VoigtFriederike Voigt
Friederike Voigt has an MA in Iranian studies, history of art and social science and is currently working on her doctoral thesis on wall tiles in architectural decoration of Qajar Iran. Since 2004 she has been a project-related curator at the Museum for Mediterranean and Near Eastern Antiquities in Stockholm for Museum With No Frontiers. She studied at Humboldt University in Berlin, at the University of Tehran and archaeology at the University of Halle-Wittenberg. She taught Persian language at several universities in Germany. She was an assistant curator at the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Cultures at the Museum of Ethnology, State Museums of Berlin. Her main fields of interest are the material culture of Iran, especially of the Qajar period, and contemporary Iranian art.
Copyedited by: Monica Allen
MWNF Working Number: SE 13