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Title: Watermelon-shaped Bottle
Location: Iran or Iraq
Materials: dark emerald-green glass, blown, tooled, wheel cut and polished
Dimensions: 35 x 20.2cm
Accession Number: GLS 384
Glass vessels in the shape of fruits were made in Syria-Mesopotamia and Egypt as early as the mid 2nd millennium BC. With the introduction of glass-blowing in the Roman period, they became much cheaper and, by the 2nd century AD, flasks and jars in the form of bunches of grapes or dates were popular all over the empire, persisting into the 6th and 7th centuries.
The deliberately matt surface of this bottle gives an added dimension of naturalism. There are, however, no known parallels for its shape and size.
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.42, pp.54–5.
J.M. Rogers, The Arts of Islam. Masterpieces from the Khalili Collection, London 2010, cat.44, pp.54–5.