Glassware - Glass bottle with Emblem

Origin and time: Egypt or Syria, 14th century
Louvre, Paris

The enamelled and gilded glass of this long-necked bottle exemplifies one of the finest techniques of Islamic art. A technique that was developed presumably in Syria at the end of the 12th century but reached its zenith during the Mameluke era from the beginning of the 13th century to the end of the 14th century.

The manufacture of such a fine piece of art is tantamount to a technical miracle and becomes even more impressive as this bottle is more than half a metre high and as such the highest bottle of this kind. Though the inscriptions on the emblems are difficult to read, it is assumed that the one who gave the order to produce this precious object has served two consecutive sultans, the first being most probably al-Kamil Shaíban I (1345-1346) and the second one an-Nasir Hassan (1347-1351 and 1354-1361).

The object exhibited in the Louvre Museum dates back to the 14th century and shares the motifs chosen with twenty other vessels of this kind of Chinese styled ornaments. These bottles were used to pour wine on celebratory occasions by Mameluks of high ranks, who thus fulfilled their duty as cupbearers.