A Fatimid carved rock crystal Fragment Egypt, early 11th Century
of clear quality, carved in relief with a palmette leaf and raised band above 5 cm. max
There are around 180 rock crystal carvings that were made in the Islamic World between the 9th-11th centuries in Mesopotamia and Egypt. The predominant style of decoration in the early period was the so-called bevelled technique in which the decorative elements were separated one from the other by slanting cuts so that compositions were linear with no background. A bottle of this type of decoration was excavated at Wasit (Erdmann, Kurt, Neue Islamische Bergkristalle, in: Ars Orientalis III, 1959, pp.200-205, abteilung 4).
The present fragment exhibits a split-palmette carried out in this early bevelled style. Another very similarly carved chess piece is in the Victoria and Albert Museum (Contadini, A. Fatimid Art at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1998, p. 23, plate 10).