An Abbasid miniature rock crystal Vessel Persia or Mesopotamia, 9th/10th Century

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Lot 293
An Abbasid miniature rock crystal Vessel
Persia or Mesopotamia, 9th/10th Century

Sold for £ 3,055 (US$ 4,266) inc. premium
An Abbasid miniature rock crystal Vessel
Persia or Mesopotamia, 9th/10th Century
of roundel form with flat everted rim standing on a pad foot, the exterior relief cut with seven roundels each containing a lozenge, the rim with zig-zag band
3.5 cm. diam.

Footnotes

  • This superb vessel, which was possibly used for cosmetics, relates to a small dish that appeared on the art market in the 1980's (Sotheby's, Islamic Art, Geneva, 25th June 1985, lot 188), which in turn compares to a gold mounted dish in the Musee du Louvre in Paris that was found at Susa in 1912 (Arthur Upham Pope, A Survay of Persian Art, Oxford, 1938, pls. 1438 C and D). A third oval rock crystal dish was offered by Christies', Islamic Art and Indian Miniatures, London, 17th October 1995, lot 286. Another example in jadeite, excavated in Susa 1928 by de Macqenem, is also in the Musee du Louvre.

    Although the Louvre's rock crystal dish has been published as Greco-Byzantine or Sasanian, it seems likely that it dates from the early Islamic period. This is supported by the fact that Susa was raised to the ground by Shapur II in the 4th Century, and was only partially re-inhabited by the late Sasanian period. In the early Abbasid period. It was once again a flourishing city.

    The features that the present lot share with the cited examples, include the roundels containing a lozenge, as well as the hatching on the rim. All these are of small scale and are relief carved on the outside.

    Most rock crystals have up to now been attributed to either 9th/11th Century Egypt or Persia, but the evidence of the present lot together with the Sotheby's and the Louvre dishes, suggest a school of eastern islamic rock-crystal carving in Mesopotamia.
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