Lot n° 10
40000 - 50000
Result with fees
: 52 000EUR
Exceptionnelle coupelle en verre
Iran or Syria, 10th-11th century
Inscription: al-mulk li-llah (sovereignty belongs to God), chanted four times. Colorless blown glass, in two layers assembled at a flared rim, enclosing a cut gold leaf, forming a composition of concentric rings: inscription in flowery kufic and a knotted garland of six vine leaves, scrolling, interspersed with shamrocks, ending in a knotted register at the center. Scientific analyses in 2013 and 2022 confirm the composition of soda-lime-silica glass with traces of iron and manganese, and its natural aging in an archaeological context.
D. 15.6 cm; H. 1.5 cm
Private collection, Paris.
Former collection of Mrs. Léone Daviaud-Fouroughi (deceased in 1985 in Paris).
We thank Dr. Heather Ecker (Art Historian, specialist in Medieval Art), for having contributed to the research conducted for this glass.
Gold sandwich glass vessels produced in Islamic lands are extremely rare, some surviving only as shards. Only ten other examples are known. Most of these are preserved in museums and all are attributed to the tenth century or earlier (Whitehouse, David. "Early Islamic Gold Sandwich Glass in The Corning Museum of Glass." Journal of Glass Studies, vol. 50, 2008, pp. 97-103). Several have also been published in: Carboni, Stefano and David Whitehouse, Glass of the Sultans, New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2001, pp. 221-225). Of these objects, only two fragments of a bottle (Victoria and Albert Museum, inv. 333-1937 and 333A-1937), now reunited, were excavated from a known archaeological site: the site of al-Mina, near the town of Samandag in the Antakya region of Turkey, found in the 1930s by Sir Leonard Woolley. These excavations were carried out on Syrian territory under the French mandate, which explains the systematic attribution of these glasses to Syria (Lane, Arthur, Medieval finds at Al Mina in North Syria, Archaeologia vol. 87, 1938, p. 71; Day, Florence, Review article, Medieval finds at Al Mina in North Syria, By Arthur Lane, Oxford, Ars Islamica, vol. 6, 1939, p. 195; Wenzel, Marian, Islamic gold sandwich glass: Some fragments in the David Collection, Copenhagen, The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, 1988, no. 1, p. 48 and Whitehouse, David, Early Islamic Gold Sandwich Glass in The Corning Museum of Glass, Journal of Glass Studies, vol. 50, 2008, p. 100). Eight gold-sandwich glass tiles were found in Maratah, Syria, now in the National Museum in Damascus and one in the Louvre (inv. AC 102), see: Goldstein, Sidney, Glass, From Sasanian antecedents to European imitations. The Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art, vol. 15. London: Azimuth, 2005, pp. 44-45. It is likely that the small group of surviving vessels and sandwich glass fragments were produced in the same place, Syria. However, their stylistic and technical aspects also link them to Egypt or Iran. As in the case of our dish, which shows close stylistic links with Samanid art in eastern Iran. Its slightly flared rim shape is similar to that of a glass dish found at Tepe Madrasa in Nishapur (Metropolitan Museum of Art, inv. 40.170.60). The decorative composition of this dish is close to that found on various ceramics, see for example a bowl in the collection of the Freer Gallery of Art in Washington (inv. F1957.24), or a fragment of a plate found in Nishapur (Metropolitan Museum of Art, inv. 40.170.480), and a dish from the Keir collection on loan to the Dallas Museum of Art (inv. K.1 .2014.249) with a beaded border in place of the inscription. For a further match suggesting a rapprochement between Bouyid and Samanid art, see a fragmentary sandwich glass bowl in the Davis Collection in Copenhagen (inv. no. 4/1987), a suggestion already proposed by Wenzel in 1988, now reinforced by the present dish. The place of manufacture of the entire group, whether in Syria, eastern Iran or Egypt, remains unknown, however.
In fourteen pieces that have been reassembled, with some restorations at the edge. The surface of the glass is pitted where the weathering layer (iridescence) has been removed.
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