• Art of the Islamic and Indian  auction at Christies

    Sale 7843

    Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds

    13 April 2010, London, King Street

  • Lot 59

    A LARGE AYYUBID OR MAMLUK MARVERED GLASS FLASK

    SYRIA, 12TH/13TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A LARGE AYYUBID OR MAMLUK MARVERED GLASS FLASK
    SYRIA, 12TH/13TH CENTURY
    Of flat rounded form with slightly flaring tubular neck, with two knops on the shoulders simulating suspension loops, the marvered decoration with white trails combed against the dark opaque body as to form a foliate design, a white opaque applied trail wrapped around the neck, repaired breaks, iridescence
    5 3/8in. (14cm.) high


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    The white foliated pattern on dark opaque glass visible on this flask is common to a large group of glass vessels produced in Syria and/or Egypt during the mediaeval times up to the early Mamluk period. This group includes vessels of various shapes, from "spearlike" flasks to rounded bowls or perfume sprinklers (qumqum). A flask exhibited in Paris in 2001 together with six other marvered glass vessels of different forms commonly found under the Ayyubids has a flaring spout around which a white opaque trail has been wrapped similarly to that of the present flask (L'Orient de Saladin, exhibition catalogue, Paris, 2001, cat.193). A 13th century Syrian qumqum, flattened on two sides, can also be parallelled with our flask as each as a flattened body and a marvered foliate pattern (Stefano Carboni, Glass of the Sultans, New York, 2001, cat.58, pp.142-3). However, the flask's ovoid shape with its two protruding ears simulating handles is more evocative of that of a gourd with two suspension loops of which contemporary examples are found in ceramics or even metalwork (L'Orient de Saladin, op.cit, cat.131, pp.126/152).

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