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HOME : Islamic Art : Islamic Art. L : Small Glass Juglet
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Small Glass Juglet - LO.907
Origin: Syria, Palestine
Circa: 700 BC to 900 AD
Dimensions: 3.75" (9.5cm) high
Collection: Glass
Medium: hot-worked glass

£4,500.00
Location: Great Britain
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Description
Although the development from the pre-Islamic period to the middle of the ninth century is very recognizable in architecture, including works in stone, plaster and wood, it becomes quite blurred on other media such as metalwork and pottery. Between the 5th and the 8th century glass production seems unchanged, although the surviving objects would still point to an industry that persisted and thrived, almost careless of the political and religious turmoils of the Ummayad era, including the death of the prophet Muhammad. Perhaps, the diffusion of glass- blowing and the consequent paucity of high quality glass after the crumbling of the Roman Empire temporarily diverted the rulers' sponsorship of glassmaking, yet during this period glass became more accessible for mundane use and thus, by loosing its status value, possibly less attractive to affluent patrons. At any rates, late Roman glass made along the coasts of modern Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Egypt (that is usually classified as 'eastern Mediterranean”) kept on being produced during the early Islamic period. One of its persistent features is represented by the decoration with applied trails that could be pulled either from the same glass batch or from a different one. Applied trails were also used functionally as handles and feet; commonly the thread was patterned in zigzags or simple spirals. When trails of the same colour were used, they were manipulated with a pointed tool or a fine pincher after they were applied to the vessel. While weathering due to burial often prevents a full appreciation of the chromatic as well as the sculptural appeal of a many glass vessels, others, like this one, have survived in excellent conditions and still convey a playful charm.

Plastic decoration also included patches of glass of different shapes applied at regular intervals to the surface of the vessel. Globular bottles and vases, small flasks and ewers were the favoured shapes during the proto-Islamic period. The decorative patches took either regular circular forms (discs, roundels, ovals) or irregular geometrical shapes (triangles, six-pointed star, composite figures) that have sometimes been interpreted as animal hides or masks. The majority of such vessels were decorated with patches of the same colour since the shape and distribution on the surface would be sufficient to emphasize the ornamental pattern.

This beautifully iridescent glass juglet features a narrow flared neck pulled from the almost piriform body to which a small handle is attached. A ring was applied at the base to form the foot, while on the body a continuous thread was applied to create a net pattern throughout. Globular bottles or jugs such as this one, which never exceeded a height of 10 cm, were more common than cylindrical flasks, although our example features a unique weathering patina that gives it an almost supernatural glare. The presence of a coiled handle would suggest its use as a pouring vessel for liquids rather than a sprinkler.

Such decorated vessels were once dated exclusively to the pre-Islamic period. However, a dating to the proto-islamic period (7th -8th century) seems more appropriate, since these objects do not have an immediate parallel with known late Roman pieces. On the other hand they were certainly produced before the codification of shapes and decorative patterns that occurred in the 9th century.

For comparable examples see, S. Carboni, Glass from Islamic Lands, 2001: pp.26-27, pl.5a and 5b. LO. 907: Small flask, free-blown opaque white glass with trailed decoration. The pear-shaped body has a comparatively tall opening neck terminating in an everted rim to which an elegant handle is attached; it rests on an attached low ring. The body has two trailed bands running around and forming irregular geometric patterns and is framed on top and below with horizontal bands. Syria or Palestine, 7th – 8th century. Ht. 9.5cm; Top diam. 2cm; Base diam. 2.5cm. Comparative material: Carboni, cat.no.1.6b, inv.no. LNS 376 G, p.40, but with trailed decoration only. GLS-17. LO. 909: Small jug, free-blown green glass with trailed and applied decoration. The pear- shaped body has a funnel-shaped neck to which an elegant and comparatively large handle is attached and rests on a ring with a sliugthly sunken base and shows pontil mark. The body has trailed bands dividing the surface in three ovals and in each one there is flat disc. Syria or Palestine, 7th – 8th century. Ht. 8.6cm; Top diam. 1.7cm; Base diam. 3cm. Comparative material: Carboni, cat.no.1.6b, inv.no. LNS 376 G, p.40, but with trailed decoration only. GLS-18. LO. 905: Small bottle, free-blown green glass with applied discs. The spherical body has a comparatively tall opening neck to which an elegant handle is attached; it rests on an oval-shaped ring. The body is decorated with six flat discs. Syria or Palestine, 7th – 8th century. Ht. 7cm; Top. Diam. 1.8cm; Base diam. 2.8cm. Comparative material: Carboni, cat.no.1.6b, inv.no. LNS 376 G, p.40, but with trailed decoration only. GLS-19. LO. 903: Miniature jug, free-blown green glass with trailed and applied decoration. The globular body rests on three short feet which are attached to the lower part of the body, the sloping houlder has a spiral trail, short opening neck and there is a bent handle which is attached to the shoulder and the neck and has a thumb-piece on top. The body displays four flat discs in relief. Syria or Palestine, 7th – 8th century. Ht. 6cm; Top diam. 1cm; Base diam. 3cm. Comparative material: Carboni, cat.no.1.6b, inv.no. LNS 376 G, p.40, but with trailed decoration only. GLS-20. LO. 901: Small bottle, free-blown green glass with applied decoration. The globular body rests on an attached ring and has a short opening cylindrical neck; the body is decorated six flat discs in high relief, arranged in two rows. Syria or Palestine, 7th – 8th century. Ht. 6.7cm; Top. 1.5cm; Base diam. 3.2cm. Comparative material: Carboni, cat.no.1.6b, inv.no. LNS 376 G, p.40, but with trailed decoration only. There is a small fragmentary flask in the Nasser D. Khalili collection the body of which is decorated with several flast discs in relief and is attributed to Iran or Iraq and dated to the period between the 5th and 7th centuries, cf. Goldstein, op.cit. no.47, p.58. Prof. Geza Fehervari Prof. Geoffrey King - (LO.907)

 

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