Institut français
d’archéologie orientale - Le Caire

Verre byzantin et islamiqueByzantine and Islamic Glass

Maria Mossakowska-Gaubert

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Poids en verre, fouilles de Fusṭāṭ (© IFAO)Glass weight, Fusṭāṭ excavations (© IFAO)
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CARBONI, Stefano
Glass Production in the Fatimid Lands and Beyond
BARRUCAND, Marianne
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. 169-177
Benaki Museum (AthènesAthens) ; British Museum (LondresLondon) ; The Corning Museum of Glass (Corning) ; C.L. David Collection (CopenhagueCopenhagen) ; Freer Gammery of Art, Smithsonian Institution (Washington) ; Kuwait National Museum (KuweitKuwait) ; Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York) ; Museum of Underwater Archaeology (Bodrum)

[950, 1200]
• General problems and issues related to the study of Islamic glass production until about the end of the 12th century:

– almost total lack of inscriptions (either moulded or engraved, or painted) on glass from this period (one exception: glass weights): the studies of the glass are based on a comparative analysis of shapes, decoration, and technical details of objects;
– wide distribution of Islamic glass objects (traded high quality artistic products or glass objects used as containers): attribution to a specific place of production is almost impossible;
– trade in broken glass for recycling from the Middle East to the northern Mediterranean and to the Indian Ocean: the issue of distinguishing between local production and imported objects; difficulties with interpretation of the results of chemical analyses of objects made from mixed, recycled material.

• Glass from the Fatimid Period, some characteristics:

– glass production was affected by a lesser number of mutations, alterations and so on, than all other comparable media (pottery, rock-crystal, woodwork, metalwork, textiles);
– Fatimid Period as transition between the “early” and the “medieval” phases of Islamic art: this phenomenon in glass production corresponds, for example, to the transition between glass staining and enameling;
– the 11th century: common stylistic ground for lustre painting on pottery and staining on glass;
– interest of Fatimid glassmakers in gilding;
– late Fatimid period: production of gilded and enameled glass ? - matter of speculation;
– production of glass with marvered trails;
– glass found in the shipwreck from Serçe Limanı as an example of average glass from the first half of the 11th century, possibly from the Syrian region:
- color: colorless or lightly tinged glass, sometimes dark green, exceptionally dark purple or blue,
- decoration: dark-colored rim; mould-blown objects, mainly with so-called honeycomb pattern; other techniques, such as shallow-cut incisions and applied decoration are under-represented,
- presence of a typical Central Asian shape: so-called ‘tuvak’, unjustified in an all-Fatimid context: - recycling trade in the eastern Islamic world ?;
– question with regard to the place of production of relief-cut glass from the 9th to the 11th century: the Iranian, Mesopotamian, and Egyptian areas.
Egypte Egypt consommation production
Irak Iraq production
Iran Iran production
Syrie Syria production consommation
Turquie Turkey Serçe Limanı consommation

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