Extant examples of intact Fatimid lustre glass bowls are rare; the glass itself being thin-bodied and included with multiple bubbles, it would have been very difficult to preserve such an object. The tradition of lustre painting on glass has its origins in late Roman Egypt. Early experiments with the lustre technique care documented in the substantial corpus of glass sherd material from Fustat dating back to at least the sixth/seventh century. The earliest dated lustre glass object is in the Museum of Islamic Art, Cairo, ascribed 'bi Misr' (in Egypt), 163 AH/779-80 AD (Rogers 2007, p.53, no.42). Although few examples in glass remain, a mould-blown lustre bowl in the British Museum (inv. no.1902,0517) displays similar characteristics in design to that of the present model. The description accompanying the British Museum bowl provides a good explanation for the process by which such a bowl would have been decorated: “The vessel was painted with a mixture containing copper oxides which fused with the glass when the vessel was heated in a reduction kiln (which limited the oxygen suppy). This created a metallic lustrous sheen” (https://www.bmimages.com/preview.asp?image=00030484001). Similar palmettes, assimilated to Abbasid prototypes, feature as the main decoration on a bottle in the David Collection, Copenhagen (inv. no.1/1985). Another comparable example, with inscriptions, is located in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (inv. no.1974.74).
This lot is accompanied by a scientific report on the glass carried out by Professor Dr Julian Henderson confirming the date of production.