Historical period(s)
Mamluk period, late 13th century
H x Diam: 30 × 18 cm (11 13/16 × 7 1/16 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Freer Gallery 03: Engaging the Senses: Art in the Islamic World
Glass, Vessel


blown, enamel, gilding, Mamluk period (1250 - 1517), mold blown, Roman Period (30 BCE - 395 CE), Syria
Provenance research underway.

Enameled glass vessels were one of the most sought-after luxury items of medieval Syria and Egypt, avidly collected by wealthy patrons throughout the Islamic world and beyond.  A technical virtuosity, enameled glass was created by outlining the decorative elements with red enamel and filling them in with white, blue, green, yellow and other colors.  Much like the process for luster-painted ceramics, the enamel was applied cold and fixed to the surface by firing the vessel again at a low temperature.

This fluted, honey-colored beaker is one of the largest drinking vessels to survive intact from the Mamluks in Egypt and Syria (1250-1517).  Its decoration is probably inspired by contemporary manuscript paintings and depicts courtly figures and scenes of royal pastimes, such as hunting and polo.

Published References
  • Freiherr Alalbert von Lanna. Sammlung Lanna. Prague. cat. 798, vol. II: p. 97, pl. 64.
  • Richard Ettinghausen. Ancient Glass in the Freer Gallery of Art. Washington, 1962. p. 25.
  • Gustav Schmoranz. Old Oriental Gilt and Enamelled Glass Vessels Extant in Public Museums and Private Collections. Vienna and London. pp. 32, 64-5, figs. 42:3,pl.31.
  • Ideals of Beauty: Asian and American Art in the Freer and Sackler Galleries. Thames and Hudson World of Art London and Washington, 2010. pp. 122-123.
  • Dr. Esin Atil. Art of the Arab World. Exh. cat. Washington, 1975. cat. 71, pp. 132-133.
  • Carl J. Lamm. Mittelalterliche Gläser und Steinschnittarbeiten aus dem Nahen Osten. Forschungen zur Islamischen Kunst 2 vols., Berlin. cat. 3, p. 371, pl. 159.
Collection Area(s)
Arts of the Islamic World
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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