John Slocum was a respected scholar who started collecting while serving as a U.S. cultural attaché in Berlin (1950-60) and while attached to the Embassy in Egypt (1960-63). Later, he served as Assistant to the Director of the Smithsonian, and was appointed by President Reagan to the Presidential Cultural Property Advisory Committee and a Trustee Emeritus of the Archaeological Institute of America. The John J. Slocum Collection of Coins of the Crusades was sold in these rooms, 6-7 March 1997.
There are only a handful of surviving examples located in major public collections: a fragmentary cup in the David Collection (inv. no.4/1987) (von Folsach 2001, p.213, no.325; Carboni and Whitehouse 2001, no.110, pp.221-2); a bottle in the British Museum (inv. no. 1978.10-11.2) (ibid, no.111, pp.223-4); and a stemless cup in the Corning Museum of Glass (inv. no.64.1.32) (ibid, no.112, p.225). All bear similar decorative patterns to the present example suggesting a common timeframe and centre of production.
Continuing chronologically, the seven examples of mosaic or millefiori glass bear witness to the persistence of this technique in Syria and Iraq in the early Islamic period after its flourishing in the Hellenistic and Roman times. The widest and most varied group present are from the Mamluk period, and feature multiple decorative techniques, including lustre, applied gold and enamel. The dark purple fragment which at first appears mysterious, can be attributed to Syria or the Egyptian region, mid-late thirteenth century, following Stefano Carboni's cataloguing of an identical piece in the Al-Sabah Collection, Kuwait (Carboni 2001, pp.348-9, no.94e).
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