Unguent Flask or Scent Bottle

bubbly colourless glass with a yellow-green tinge; blown, trail-decorated and tooled

9.8 x 3.4cm

The conical body of this small flask tapers to a thickened, knob base, which retains a pontil mark. It has a tall, slightly flaring neck with a rounded rim and a torus moulding at its base. A trail, applied to the base of the neck and pulled up to the rim, forms the handle.

Despite its utilitarian form, considerable care was taken with the decoration. A trail was applied to the top of the handle, looped back on itself and pulled to the base of the handle, where it is tooled into a rigaree pattern that continues to the base of the flask. Two other trails, applied to the shoulders and pulled down the length of the body, are tooled in a similar fashion. A fourth trail applied to the apex of the handle forms a stylized snake’s- or dragon’s-head thumb-rest. The trails are of even thickness, and the tooling is uniform.

S.M. Goldstein et al, Glass. From Sasanian Antecedents to European Imitations, The Nasser D Khalili Collection of Islamic Art, volume XV, London 2005, cat.291, p.252.