Footed bowl with cover

Historical period(s)
Mamluk period, early 14th century
Glass with gilded and enamelled decoration
H x W x D: 31.1 x 21 x 21 cm (12 1/4 x 8 1/4 x 8 1/4 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, eagle, enamel, flower, gilding, griffin, Mamluk period (1250 - 1517), phoenix, Roman Period (30 BCE - 395 CE), Syria, unicorn
Provenance research underway.

This footed bowl exemplifies the high quality of glass ware produced in Syrian workshops during the Mamluk period. Like the other large pieces exhibited here, it is quite heavy and has a thick foot and walls. Yet, for all its solidity, the piece was fashioned of glass and is, therefore, extremely fragile. Although many vessels of this shape were undoubtedly made during the 14th century, the Freer piece is only one of two such examples which have survived with both the bowl and the matching lid still intact.

In addition to its fine state of preservation, the covered bowl is noteworthy for the colorful designs covering its entire surface. The decorative program consists primarily of real and fantastic animals, represented both individually, such as the Phoenix in three separate large medallions, and in pairs, such as the hawk attacking another bird in the small medallions. The theme of combat is also repeated in two different friezes--one on the bowl's central zone and the other on the cover--where wolves, hares, lions, stags, winged griffons, sphinxes, and winged unicorns race around in eternal pursuit of one another.

Published References
  • Richard Ettinghausen. Studies in Muslim Iconography I: The Unicorn. vol. 1, no. 3 Washington. pp. 17-18, pl. 20.
  • Richard Ettinghausen. Ancient Glass in the Freer Gallery of Art. Washington, 1962. pp. 26-27.
  • de Young Museum. Exhibition of Islamic Art. Exh. cat. San Francisco. cat. 171, p. 52.
  • Dr. Esin Atil. Art of the Arab World. Exh. cat. Washington, 1975. cat. 72, pp. 134-135.
  • Untitled article. vol. 2 Corning, New York. p. 141, fig. 16.
Collection Area(s)
Arts of the Islamic World
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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