Institut français
d’archéologie orientale - Le Caire

Verre byzantin et islamiqueByzantine and Islamic Glass

Maria Mossakowska-Gaubert

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Fusṭāṭ and Nishapur. Questions about Fatimid Cut Glass
L’Égypte fatimide, son art et son histoire. Actes du colloque organisé à Paris les 28, 29 et 30 mai 1998
Presses de l’Université de Paris -Sorbonne, Paris, 1999, p. 219-232
Benaki Museum (AthènesAthens) ; C.L. David Collection (CopenhagueCopenhagen) ; Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York) ; Museum für Islamische Kunst (Berlin) ; Museum of Islamic Art (Le CaireCairo)

[801, 1100]
• Fatimid cut glass and its relations to Iran – examination of spherical bottle from the Museum für Islamische Kunst in Berlin (fig. III 28; Egypt, 10th – first half 11th century):


– relates this bottle to the sphero-conical mainly pottery vessel, less frequent glass vessel (so-called ‘kuza-yi fuqāʿ’ or “beer gourds”).

Cut decoration (bevelled or slant-cut style):

– main frieze:
- roundels with birds (peacocks) alternating with geometrical pattern.
The decorative schema of birds resembles the roundels with birds motive on the relief-cut bowl from Fusṭāṭ (fig. 3; 9th century). On Iranian glass more popular are rows of birds (fig. 4, 5, 6 ; 9th–10th century). Motive of peacocks on rock-cristal pommel (fig. 7b; Egypt, 10th century).
- geometrical pattern: triangles or half triangles filled with volutes.
Volutes are typical for vessels in the slant-cut style from Iran (fig. 8; glass bottle, Iran, 10th century; fig. 9, glass bottle, China, prior 1018, Iranian origin; fig. 10, glass beaker, Nishapur, 10th century). Other examples of volutes motives on glass made probably in the Syro-Palestinian region: group of beakers from the Serçe Limanı shipwreck (1025), beaker from the glass cache in Ṣabra al-Manṣūriyya (fig. 11; 10th – beginning of 11th century).

– secondary friezes:
two lines crossing each other regulary and forming triangles with crisscross pattern.
The similar motives are on the beakers from Serçe Limanı shipwreck and a beaker from Ṣabra al-Manṣūriyya. This motive is absent on glass hitherto known from Khurasan region.

– kind of cuts:
On the spherical bottle from Berlin the cuts are deep and sometimes crude. Glass from Serçe Limanı and Ṣabra al-Manṣūriyya are light.

Other examples of glass with cut decoration identified as Fatimid:

– fragments from Benaki Museum;
– cameo glass with bird, Museum of Islamic Art in Berlin - 10th century (fig. III 29a);
– bowl with cameo ibexes, Museum of Islamic Art in Cairo - 10th century (fig. III 29b);
– fragment of beaker with cameo pattern, Museum of Islamic Art in Berlin - 10th century (fig. III 29c);
- fragment of glass vessel with cut animal decoration, Museum of Islamic Art in Berlin - 10th century (fig. III 29d).

Origin of Berlin spherical bottle: Iranian origin as well Syro-Palestinian can be excluded. Egyptian glass ateliers seem to be more probable.
Chine China Naiman consommation
Egypte Egypt Fusṭāṭ consommation production
Iran Iran Nishapur consommation production
Khurasan consommation production
Tunisie Tunisia Ṣabra al-Manṣūriyya consommation
Turquie Turkey Serçe Limanı consommation

Version 5, données dudata date 30 janvier 2013January 30th 2013