Name of Object:

Goblet

Location:

Damascus, Syria

Holding Museum:

National Museum of Damascus

About National Museum of Damascus, Damascus

Date of Object:

Hegira 218–27 / AD 833–41

Museum Inventory Number:

ع 16032

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Glass decorated with metallic lustre.

Dimensions:

Height 11 cm, diameter 9.4 cm

Period / Dynasty

Abbasid

Description:

A goblet that was found during archaeological excavations at Palace B, a building which bears an inscription on plaster associating it with the Caliph al-Mu'tasim Billah (r. AH 218–27 / AD 833–42). The goblet has a simple circular base and an inverted bell-shaped body; a twisted stem connects the two parts.
The application of metallic lustre to decorate vessels is a quintessentially Islamic technique that first appeared in glasswork before becoming, famously, applied to pottery. The body of this goblet is decorated with vertical and horizontal lines of metallic lustre, that take the shape of sequential dots forming stylised vegetal motifs and bands of circular geometric patterns. The rim is articulated with line of cobalt-blue.
Raqqa, a region that lies between the Euphrates and Balikh rivers, flourished during the Abbasid period. A group of Abbasid palaces, parts of which were excavated during the 1950s and labelled with the letters A, B, C and D, are found in the region.

View Short Description

This elegant blue-rimmed chalice with metallic-lustre and painted decoration is a masterpiece of royal glasswork. It was found in the Raqqa region during excavation of the palace of the Abbasid Caliph al-Mu'tasim Billah who reigned AH 218–27 / AD 833–41.

Original Owner:

Caliph al-Mu’tasim Billah (r. AH 218–27 / AD 833–42)

How date and origin were established:

The object is believed to be contemporary to Palace B, which has been dated to the period of al-Mu'tasim's reign (218–27 / 833–41).

How Object was obtained:

The object was obtained during archaeological excavations undertaken in the 1950s by the Syrian General Directorate of Antiquities under the direction of Nasib Salibi.

How provenance was established:

The goblet was found during an archaeological excavation at Raqqa. There is no way of establishing whether it was made locally or imported, as similar glass production flourished in both Baghdad and Damascus.

Selected bibliography:

Abu al-Faraj al-Ush, M., A Concise Guide to the National Museum of Damascus, Damascus, 1969, p.161.
Carboni, S., and Whitehouse, D., Glass of the Sultans, New York, 2001.
Cluzan, S. et al (eds), Syrie: Mémoire et Civilisation, Paris, 1994.
Daiber, V., and Becker, A., Raqqa III, Mainz, 2004, p.102; fig. 19, plate
54b.
Soustiel, J., and Kiefer, C., La céramique islamique, Fribourg, 1985, p.420.

Citation of this web page:

Mona al-Moadin "Goblet" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2017. http://www.discoverislamicart.org/database_item.php?id=object;ISL;sy;Mus01;6;en

Prepared by: Mona Al-Moadin
Translation by: Hilary Kalmbach (from the Arabic)
Translation copyedited by: Mandi Gomez

MWNF Working Number: SY 12

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Islamic Dynasties / Period

Abbasids


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