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UNIQUE Fatimid 1000yr OLD King's Glass Beaker KUFIC inscription Abbasid Islamic

CAD $92,572.48 or Best Offer Unsold, CAD $0.01 Shipping, 14-Day Returns

Seller: islamiqueantiques_dot_com (1,108) 100%, Location: Leeds, Ships to: Worldwide, Item: 281856485084 Condition: Please see listing for full details, Material: Glass, Details: Unique – you will not find another one outside of a museum! In fact, this majestic artifact is BETTER than MOST in museums! Umayyad period Andalucian or Abbasid Egypt (possibly Syria) King or Prince's beaker/goblet/glass/cup UNIQUE 1,000 year OLD King or Prince's GLASS beaker/cup Best EVER on eBay – museum QUALITY – Guaranteed GENUINE Only when you hold this in your hand will you be able to appreciate the historic significance of this ancient Islamic glass artifact! FREE FULLY INSURED SHIPPING Please see a selection of my rare & unique Islamic Antiques & Art on: Background I have treasured this piece as one of my greatest acquisitions for many decades. This piece is one of the most amazing and valuable that I have ever handled in almost thirty years of collecting. I have kept this EXQUISITE artifact locked away and only shown it to a handful of people. I do not want to sell it but I need to so this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for you to add to your collection a GENUINE ancient Islamic work of art that only a few museums in the world can rival. Please contact me for further photographs and information. I have images of most of the artifacts that I am referring to in the following description – contact me for details. I will refer to this DELIGHTFUL glass artifact as a beaker (large glass for drinking) although some people may call it a cup, drinking glass or a goblet. There are several aspects to this beaker that make is truly UNIQUE and highly desirable. This would be the crowning piece for any collection of early Islamic art. How many people can say that they own a 1,000 year old majestic glass beaker with such a beautiful Kufic inscription? It is truly amazing when you hold it in your hand – your fingers wrap around the slim 'waist' and the upper part of the beaker flares outwards – you just feel like lifting it to your lips! Early Islamic Glass Early and rare Islamic glass is EXTREMELY highly desirable and sought after. This is due to several reasons such as the fragile nature of the material, the fact that only the elite/rich used to own these pieces and also the fact that there is still a lot of research and discovery in this area. This is why museums around the world are desperate to acquire the earliest Islamic glass artifacts – they want to discover unknown pieces like this one (see links below). I don't even know where to start describing this piece! You have to understand one thing: most people drank out of cups made of lead, tin, brass, wood or pottery. The richest people used to drink from cups made of gold, silver and GLASS. Now you may be thinking that glass is something cheap and disposable BUT you need to appreciate that in ancient times – glass-making was a very highly skilled trade and only the richest could afford to own anything more that the most basic pieces. A MONUMENTAL beaker such as this one was made for someone VERY special!!! is VERY fragile – so most people living in mud-brick huts and working on the land, trading and or barely surviving would not have luxury items made of glass laying around! Whereas the nobility living in palaces and castles would have the space, the stability and the security of being able to leave such delicate works of art laying around knowing that one of their servants would wash it and have it ready for the next time it needed to be used. You will find glass bowls, jugs, plates, ewers, amulets and lamps that were used in mosques, palaces and the houses of the wealthy merchants. One of the best books on early Islamic glass is “Glass from Islamic Lands” by Stefano Carboni. Carboni put together a fully illustrated catalog of early Islamic glass in the Al Sabah Collection in the Kuwait National Collection. Dimensions/Size In Stefano Carboni's book (6) there are 31 examples of cups/goblets/beakers and all of them except TWO are between 4cm-15cm. The taller two are 16cm and 17cm tall. This majestic beaker that I am selling is TWENTY (20) centimetres TALL! Even if you look through museum collections around the world: nearly ALL the early Islamic glass cups/beakers are between 5cm-15cm tall (look at the beakers included in the links to museums at the end of this listing). Just think about the size for a moment: this is a show-off piece – talk about ostentatious! Not only is it one of the tallest ancient Islamic glass beakers (taller than any of the pieces in the Al Sabah Kuwaiti Royal Family Museum) it also has a 110mm diameter across the rim! Just look at that beautiful trumpet shape! I believe that this piece was unstable due to the shape (very narrow at the bottom and VERY wide at the top) so the original owner may not have used it very often: maybe only on SPECIAL occasions! There is also some evidence to show that large beakers such as this one were stored upside down when not in use (evidenced from early medieval paintings). Have a look at the size and shape of the beaker that the King is drinking from in this 1,000 year old painting: There is a wonderful Fatimid period wall painting in the Museum of Islamic History (Cairo) that shows a King drinking from a very LARGE glass beaker just like this one (O'Kane, page 64). Inscription Another observation that is crucial to note is that fact this this magnificent LARGE beaker has an amazing inscription! Please note that out of the 33 beakers/cups in the catalogue of the Al Sabah Collection in the Kuwait National Museum (Carboni) only TWO have inscriptions! Inscriptions on early Islamic glass are RARE (see section below on auction prices for ancient glass with inscriptions). That would be an approximate estimation, based on the examples in Carboni's catalogue, of only 6% of known/documented beakers having inscriptions. The inscription is totally awesome! It is initially very hard to read because it is one of the earliest forms of Kufic script – very angular (not cursive) and without any supplementary marks. It took me a very long time to work out what the inscription says! Look at the following link – there is a useful table at the left of the “History” section: The earliest script on the above link is very similar to the inscription on the beaker: no dots or diacritic marks, angular letter 'ba', very similar 'ha' at the end of “Allah” and note the triangular shapes at the end of the tall letters. Please also note the lower inscription (there are two on the following link) which has a tall, straight line for the letter “ba”, triangular projections at the top of the letters and a similar letter “meem”: If you look carefully at the beaker: the first two letters are merged together with the third letter being “meem” - that makes “Ba-seen-meen” then “Allah”: “Bismillah”! This inscription is: “Bism Allah al Rahman al Raheem” - “In the Name of Allah the Most Merciful the Most Kind”. What an amazing and beautiful inscription! Without any indication or dot under the letter “ba”, this cetainly is a very early Kufic style of inscription. Furthermore, the very tall, straight, angular letters are also indicators of the early script. If you look carefully you will see a fantastic flourish in the letter “ha” in “al Rahman”: this is a beautiful and very carefully executed elongation that is very stylish and typical of the then early development of foliate Kufic. At the end of “al Rahman”, the letter “noon” has no dot and is also very stylized. The letter “ha” in “al Raheem” is also very stylised in much the same manner as it appears in “al Rahman”. The beautifully stylized foliate motif used to indicate where the inscription starts and finishes is also typical of the early period of Islamic design. You will see similar motifs on Qur'an manuscripts of this early period and on carved inscriptions in Cairo and Syria. It is only when you very closely observe the inscription that you appreciate how beautifully detailed and stylistic it truly is. You will also then notice that the letters stand proud, in relief – above the surface. This is a technical and manufacturing marvel! It is only due to the fact that this ancient artifact is well preserved (it would have been in stable, dry ground for many centuries) that you can see the letters so clearly. This magnificent & EARLY Islamic glass artifact was mold-blown, worked on the pontil and then wheel cut for the sharpness of the inscription (also refer to technical section below). Below the inscription are 2 beautifully depicted fish with fins, scales & open mouths, swimming upwards. Fish used as symbols on Islamic Art Fish were used in Roman, Byzantine and ancient Persian cultures as decorative motifs as well as symbolic representation in art. One of the earliest representations of Christianity in the Eastern Church was the fish (Ichthus). If you look at the links included below, you can see Roman period glass fish as well as fish on glass and ceramic objects. Oliver Watson has produced an amazing catalog of early Islamic Ceramics in the Al Sabah (Kuwait National Museum) Royal Collection. A pair of fish moulded onto the surface appear on a 12th century water jug (Watson 2004). This type and style of jug was clearly intended to be used for water and hence the symbolism. The fish on this pottery water jug are very similar to the beaker: they have scales, fins and a large open tail. Watson also mentions a 10th century bowl that was decorated with painted fish. More significantly, Watson illustrates a deep pottery dish from the 12th Century that has a pair of fish painted on the inside. The fish are remarkably similar to the ones on this beaker (16). What did the Umayyads use the fish to represent? Please note that even at the early stages of the Islamic civilization, the elite would imbibe alcohol often in the form of wine. This is widely documented and evidenced in poetry, paintings and other arts. The fish was a symbol to represent PURE WATER – drinking water! The combination of the Bismillah inscription and the two fish clearly demonstrates that this beaker was designed for drinking pure, clean water ONLY! Look at the two ablution (wudhu) basins that have fish carved on them to symbolize clean, pure water (1 & 2 in reference section below). There is also a carved marble panel with carved fish along the border in the Museum of Islamic History, Cairo. This panel was part of a water feature in a palace in the Ayyubid period. The fish have scales, split tails, open mouths and look very similar to the fish on this wonderful glass beaker. So this beaker was made for someone very rich and powerful who was pious, spiritual and wanted to make sure only water was placed in this beaker. Please note that fish were also used as a symbol to represent blessing because clean water was a blessing in ancient times, particularly in semi desert areas, when there were no piped water supplies nor sewage purification works! Pottery jugs (ewers) would be filled with water and these jugs had pierced filters at the top to prevent flies/insects getting in. A beautiful Fatimid period pierced and engraved filter consisting of a pair of fish (Pisces) can be found in the Museum of Islamic History, Cairo. The fish on the Fatimid filter have split tails, fins and scales very similar to the ones on this beaker. Numerous fish are illustrated in a book that documents animals in early Islamic ceramics (Cleves Stead 1932). You will find fish on early ceramics (pottery), glass, on metal objects, in paintings on walls on paper and on carved wood. It is interesting to note that there was enough room on this beaker for three fish but only two appear – they are a PAIR of fish: a pair of fish are used to represent PISCES. A pair of fish with similar scales and split tails appear on a Khorasan bronze bowl (probably for abolution water) from the early 13th Century (Eva Wilson, 1988). Please read the description of the Victoria & Albert Museum bowl here which has all the symbols of the Zodiac: Here is another earlier brass bowl from 12th century with Zodiac: See also this excellent work by Stefan Carboni: There are several cut glass 'molar' type bottles in the shape of fish. Please note the 1000 year old Islamic glass dish decorated with fish on the following link and more importantly, the comment at the end of the first paragraph (“From time to time, these craftsmen also depicted human figures, animals, birds, and fish”): You can see how pieces such as this were made for the Kings & Royal Families on the following article (refer to start of 5th paragraph: “The tiny rock crystal flask in the shape of a fish may originally have held a precious perfume. It is believed to have been made in Egypt, where rock crystal was used to make precious possessions for the ruling dynasty”): There are twelve known rock crystal miniature flasks (11) in museums around the world from the 10th century (British Arts Council Exihibtion, 1976). When you look closely at the fish you will notice the open mouth, the very intricately depicted scales, the fins and split tails. Please note that the fish are not painted on – they are in relief as they were carved in reverse on a mould. These fish are very similar to those found on early Islamic ceramics (Stead 1935). Period of Manufacture: Abbasid or Umayyad? I showed this magnificent ancient glass work of art to an archaeologist who had worked in Egypt and she said that she had seen a similar large piece in a Spanish museum dating from the Umayyad period. I believe that this princely beaker that I am offering here is from Umayyad period Spain (756CE-1031CE). Please also note that in recent years, archaeological excavations have revealed several Andalucian glass making furnaces in Spain (see Noemi Carmona et al). The style of the calligraphy used is very similar to Umayyad Spain/Andalucian script and also two Umayyad abolution (wudhu) basins in museums both have fish carved on them (1,2). You will find a very similar style of Kufic “Bismillah” on a 1000 year old casket made for a Prince (Abdul Malik ibn Mansur) in Andalucia in the Museuo de Nevarra, Pamplona (15) Finding GENUINE early Islamic glass is very difficult... Finding early Islamic glass that is COMPLETE and INTACT is very RARE! Finding early Islamic glass INTACT & with calligraphy is EXTREMELY RARE You will note in the section below where I have included links to auction prices, that those pieces with inscriptions achieve much HIGHER prices. Technique of manufacture Please read the brief overview of mould blown techniques on the following link and note in particular at the end of the second paragraph where it refers to inscriptions only being sometimes used on such pieces: The crispness and clarity of the inscription on my beaker demonstrates that it was produced from a full size mold which was probably then destroyed so no copies could be made. Please also note that the mold would have been made of bronze or possibly steel. Also, the inscription would have been incised inside the mold in REVERSE so when the hot glass pressed against it, the inscription would appear the right way around. Having a metal worker involved added to the cost of production of the item – this beaker was a truly luxury item! Detail of Beaker As already explained, the rim is folded outwards (everted) which is a classical form from the early period of Islamic glass production. Just below the rim is a row of dots that are slightly raised, bordered by a line above and one below. The use of rows of dots was common on Roman glass and the Muslim glass makers adopted many earlier traditions. The dots on this beaker are imitating low relief prunts – prunts were circular attachments to the glass. Please look closely at the mold blown ewer (small jug) that has inscriptions and a row of dots on it: Look at the prunts on the following museum artefact: A small ewer from 10th Century Iran has two rows of low prunts and is illustrated on p170 of Carboni. Then there is the inscription below which is another row of dots bordered by two lines. Please look closely at the mold blown ewer (small jug) that has inscriptions and a row of dots on it. What is also interesting about the following ewer is that it was made for the Emir of Baghdad: Below all of this are the two fish that are swimming upwards. The base is what is known as an “applied foot ring” - a ring of glass was made separately then applied/attached to the base while it was still hot. At the centre of the base, you can see a rough area where the pontil was broken. The pontil break is slightly irregular but overall in circular shape. The bubbles are numerous and of various sizes from large to microscopic. There are also small clouds of bubbles, long stretched bubbles horizontal & vertical. This is due to the way that this artefact was produced. There are some very tiny inclusions and on very close inspection, you can see bubbles that have reached the surface and burst – this all adds to an amazing surface patina. The colour appears colourless with a very light hint of greyish-green. This is a colour that was used in Roman and very early production of Islamic glass. Another point to note about the texture of this ancient artefact is the frosted appearance of the glass in the areas around the inscription. This is very unusual and I have not found this on any other examples of ancient Islamic glass. If you look closely you will see areas of rainbow coloured irridescence on the surface of the glass. This is visible on the outside, the inside and the underside. There is a film of deposit on the inside surface of the beaker that is flaking off and falling into the bottom of the beaker. This is part of the ageing process of the glass and does not affect the glass which is stable. Condition Report Please note that this is a 1,000 year old excavated exquisite artifact that would have been in the ground for hundreds of years. The glass is stable and in an excellent state of preservation. I personally very carefully cleaned this glass beaker with a clean, soft brush and tap water to see the actual colour of the glass as this beaker was covered in a film that prevented it's actual colour to be visible. I left an area totally untouched which is still covered in a brownish residue on the upper inside of the rim. It was almost impossible to discern the colour (or lack of colour) in the glass without cleaning it. There is a crack that runs all the way round the beaker and another crack that runs vertically before running half way round the beaker. There is a tiny triangular fragment that is loose near the rim. Please note that despite these condition issues: this beaker is COMPLETE (there is not even a centimetre of it missing) and it is INTACT – it is in one piece. Look at the broken, damaged and artifacts with sections missing in the “Auction Prices” section below to appreciate the significance and importance of this UNIQUE, magnificent and majestic early Islamic glass beaker. Technical Analysis For several decades, museums and universities have used X-Ray Flourescence (XRF) analysis on ancient glass to quantify the amounts of various elements present. XRF is a non destructive method of analysing glass as the glass does not have to be pulverised and mounted in resin prior to X-Ray (eg Thermoluminescence TL analysis requires a sample to be pulverised and mounted). I have had this majestic beaker analysed by XRF and the results match analysis of hundreds of early Islamic glass from 9th-10th Century CE: Please contact me for details and further information. Auction Results for Early Islamic Glass Look at this early piece of Islamic glass that sold for £1.5million: This one is broken and repaired and from the similar period £623,000: Here is a piece that is from the same period that sold for £620,000: Scroll down the following link and see a small glass bowl from similar age and colour estimated at $800,000: Look at this early and TALL piece which is similar in size sold for £330,000 – zoom into see the colour of this ancient piece and compare to the one I am selling: Please observe carefully the colour, iridescence and style on this bottle which is from the similar period and sold for £250,000: Early Islamic Glass beakers in Museums Have a good close look at the SMALLER beaker (observe the bubbles and surface patination) in a US museum: Look closely at the design and glass colour on this ancient Roman fish in a US museum: Here is a SMALL glass cup with similar colourless glass colour and calligraphy: A wonderful example of a colourless glass beaker from similar period: Another wonderful example but SMALLER: Much smaller, broken and repaired example with very similar colourless glass and numerous bubbles, flakey deposits from degradation of glass: Lifetime Warranty GENUINE and as described! I will provide a Certificate of Authenticity with this magnificent, UNIQUE work of art that guarantees it to be as described in this listing. A refund will be given if proven otherwise. References 1) An Umayyad ablution (wudhu) basin made of marble has numerous fish carved on it (fish being associated with pure, clean water) held at the National Archeological Museum, Madrid, Spain.;ISL;es;Mus01;5;en&pageD=N2) Another Umayyad ablution (wudhu) basin of white marble has fish carved on it, held at Dar Si Said Museum, Morocco.;ISL;ma;Mus01_D;5;en&pageD=N3) Fatimid period pottery lustre jar decorated with fish that have split tail and scales very similar to those on the piece being offered:;ISL;uk;Mus02;2;en&pageD=N 4) “Islamic Designs for Artists and Craftspeople” Eva Wilson, 1988. Please note the representation of Pisces on Plate 10 (notes on p17) from a Khorasan bowl in the Victoria & Albert Museum 5) “Islamic glasses from Al-Andalus. Characterisation of materials from a Murcian workshop (12th century AD, Spain)” Noemi Carmona et al, Journal of Cultural Heritage 10 (2009) 439–445. 6) “Fantastic Fauna. Decorative Animals in Moslem Ceramics" by Cleves Stead, Cairo 1935 Several illustrations of fish found on early ceramics. 7) “Glass from Islamic Lands – The Al Sabah Collection” by Stefano Carboni. See notes on page 109 Item 32 - Fatimid period Fish shaped container. 8) “Islamic Glass – A Brief History” Marilyn Jenkins. Metropolitan Museum of Art 1986. See specifically two beakers on page 27 and 28. 9) “Early Islamic Glass in the LA Meyer Memorial Institute for Islamic Art” by Rachel Hasson. In particular there are photographs of six beakers made of colourless glass, the tallest is only 13.6cm tall. 10) “Fustat Glass of the Early Islamic Period – Finds excavated by the American Research Centre in Egypt 1964-1980” by George T Scanlon and Ralph Pinder-Wilson. This is a very detailed study and is a very informative source for illustrations of types of rims, foot rings and shapes of early Islamic glass vessels. 11) “The Arts of Islamic” British Arts Council Exihibtion, 1976. See page 125 for illustration of rock crystal fish miniature flask. Also page 262 illustration and note on Pisces Zodiac symbol. 12) “Fish Pond Ornaments on Persian and Mamluk Metal Objects” Eva Baer, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, London 1968. 13) “Islamic Art in the Nasli Heeramaneck Collection” Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1973. See page 45 for 13th Century ceramic dish with a pair of fish painted on the inside centre and also page 53 for a 14th Century ewer with fish painted at the top of the neck and around the base to symbolise that the ewer was to be used for water. 14) “The Art & Architecture of Islam 650-1250” Ettinghausen & Grabar, 1987. 15) “The Treasures of Islamic Art in the Museums of Cairo” Bernard O'Kane.16) “Ceramics from Islamic Lands – The Al Sabah Collection” Oliver Watson. London, 2004. Now that you have read the description this far, you clearly are a person of intelligence, connoisseurship and a true collector. Only an amateur would confuse this majestic piece with the mass produced fakes that attempt to copy Mamluk beakers. The fakes are always around 10cm tall, often are painted in the WRONG colours for the period, they don't have turned (folded or everted) rims, they normally do not even have an applied foot ring and no pontil mark on the underside. The fakes almost always have a consistent, overall faked patina attempting to look like irridescence. Please see our other rare & unique Islamic antiques: we have a large range of very early pieces from the dawn of the Islamic civilisation onwards. TERMS & CONDITIONS OF SALE By placing a bid, you have agreed to the following terms and conditions. According to eBay rules - winning bidders should contact seller within 3 days of the end of the listing. All sales are final and no returns accepted – read the item description and look at the photos – bid as you feel appropriate. NO BIDDERS WITH LESS THAN 10 FEEDBACK unless they contact me first. If you bid without contacting me first (via the ‘Ask seller a question’ link at top of listing page), your bid may not be accepted and the item offered to the 2nd highest bidder or re-listed. You will also be blocked from bidding on future items – there are some fine items to be listed soon…. It is the buyer’s responsibility to pay for any taxes, licences, charges or fees for import, etc. If you do not pay for insurance, shipping is at your risk. DO NOT BID IF YOU ARE NOT GOING TO PAY! Overseas bidders PAYPAL ONLY. Please note that payment is due within 3 days. Cheques only acceptable from UK Banks in sterling. Payment by UK sterling cheque - Item(s) despatched after cheque clears. All returns – buyer must contact seller first for a reference number and to arrange for the return. Please note a 20% handling/administration fee will be deducted from the refund. Please DO NOT leave your questions until the last couple of hours of the listing! If you do leave your questions late – don’t expect a prompt reply as I am sometimes away from my computer when a listing ends. I am not an expert so unless otherwise stated - opinion is based on research or sources quoted. All dimensions and measurements are approximate. If you do not pay insurance – item is sent at buyer’s risk. Furthermore, if you pay with Paypal and want your item to be covered by Paypal protection – you have to pay insurance. Otherwise, do not expect an item to be covered for any loss or damage. Postage / shipping quoted is approximate as items listed are usually weighed prior to being packaged. Under eBay regulations, postage can be quoted after auction is complete. I try to provide an accurate shipping cost but bidders should note actual postage will be quoted with invoice as items are packed after the auction closes.

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