Syria or Egypt
mid 13th century AD
yellowish glass, blown and decorated with thickly applied enamels and gilding
18 x 12.7cm; 15.8 x 11.4cm; 12.5 x 8.4cm
This is a unique set of three identically decorated beakers of graduated size. The surface of the glass of the two smaller beakers is in almost perfect condition, which suggests that the beakers survived stacked one inside the other, inside a leather or fabric-padded case. A fourth beaker in Kuwait, with identical decoration, was evidently the second smallest of the set. The shape and decoration link this set with beakers that reached Europe in the Middle Ages, where they were often given precious metal mounts and used as liturgical vessels.
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.305, pp.278–9.
J.M. Rogers, The Arts of Islam. Masterpieces from the Khalili Collection, London 2010, cat.153, p.128.