Western Asia, Umayyad or Abbasid art, 8th-12th century
Blown and spun blue transparent glass. A pear-shaped body resting on a small pedestal, with a high, slightly flared tubular neck and a handle with a stylized palmette-shaped knob for gripping. The top of the neck is decorated with glass nets rolled under the hemmed lip. Condition: strong iridescence, a circular crack draws a medallion of 4 cm, with a small perforation that concentrated a dusty deposit and iridescence.
H. 18.5 cm; L. 9 cm
The shape and various elements of this glass flask are in continuity with Roman and Byzantine flasks of the Eastern Mediterranean world of the 5th-7th centuries. But if these decorative elements taken individually can evoke an earlier production, the combination of these different elements on the same piece, such as the spun decoration, the applied handle, the pontil mark under the base or the shape of the piriform body, indicate an Islamic origin according to Stefano Carboni (Glass from Islamic Lands. Kuwait National Museum, Thames & Hudson, 2001, cat. 1, p. 18). Moreover, certain elements of decoration such as the grip button acting as a poucier on top of the handle, or the applied circular threads (trailed decoration) suggest an Islamic Iranian origin in the continuity of post-Roman Mediterranean production. The shape of this bottle also evokes the Abbasid ewers made of metal from Khorassan whose handle is decorated with a palmette-shaped poucier. For glasses attributed to the Iranian region of the Islamic period, see for example two bowls with applied net decoration, kept in the al-Sabah collection, Kuwait: Stefano Carboni, op.cit. 2001, cat. 45a-b, pp. 180-81, and cat. 46b, p. 182 for a ewer with a poucier very similar to that of this flask. See also cat. 39, p. 168 for a blue glass bottle clearly resembling a metallic Khorassan flask. Expert. L.S.