Egypt or Mesopotamia
9th or 10th century AD
colourless glass with a greenish-yellow tinge, cast or blown in an open mould, tooled and wheel cut with angular facets
5.7 x 8cm (flask); 1.6 x 6.2 x 6.2cm (tray)
Of the numerous facet-cut cosmetic flasks known from the eastern Mediterranean in the early Islamic Middle Ages and to a lesser extent in Iran, this set is indisputably the finest. It consists of a flask on an attached boat-shaped base and a square tray which may have been used as a palette for grinding kohl. The boat shape may allude to the import of precious cosmetics, oils and pastes by sea from distant lands.
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.190, pp.162–3. J.M. Rogers, The Arts of Islam. Masterpieces from the Khalili Collection, London 2010, cat.51, p.59.