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Details & Cataloguing

Arts of the Islamic World including Fine Rugs and Carpets

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A Fatimid carved aquamarine flask, Egypt, 10th/11th century
of cylindrical form on a short spreading foot, with everted rim and inner cylinder, the body decorated with four relief-cut curved and etched stylised vines with upward-pointing palmette terminals
6.4cm. height
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Provenance

Purchased from Michel Albert Manoukian, Paris, 7 April 1969 (receipt on file).

Catalogue Note

This bottle was produced during the Fatimid period most probably for use as a container for perfume and scented oils. It is extremely rare to find aquamarine examples of the period and so one must turn to rock-crystal for comparison. A rock-crystal bottle of similar decoration is found in the Keir Collection, both bottles share the same bevelled palmette scroll around the body (R. Pinder Wilson, in B. Robinson (ed.), Islamic Art in the Keir Collection, London, 1988, no. R3, pp. 294-295). There existed a common repertoire of shapes and designs between cut-glass and rock crystal and it was likely that they were carved in the same workshops by the same craftsmen (Contadini, A., Fatimid Art at the Victoria & Albert Museum, 1998, p.25). Beryl mines were known in Egypt since ancient times and it is possible that this aquamarine was sourced from one of these, forming part of a very special commission. 

Arts of the Islamic World including Fine Rugs and Carpets

|
London