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Lot 1478: Islamic Cut-Crystal Bowl

Antiquities: Day 3

by TimeLine Auctions

December 8, 2016

London, United Kingdom

Live Auction
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Description: 10th century AD. A crystal vessel with ridge below the rim, wheel-cut facets in three tiers to the outer face. 368 grams, 11cm (4 1/4"). From an old British private collection; formed between 1975 and 1985. Quartz has been prized in a number of ancient cultures, with the Hellenistic kingdoms and the Roman Empire excelling at creating vessels carved from from the mineral. The Fatimid caliphate in Egypt was a period that was marked by a prosperity among the upper echelons, manifested in the creation of opulent and finely wrought objects in the decorative arts, including carved rock crystal, lustreware and other ceramics, wood and ivory carving, gold jewellery and other metal ware, textiles, books and coinage. These items not only reflected personal wealth, but were used as gifts to curry favour abroad. The most precious and valuable objects were amassed in the caliphal palaces in Cairo. Great skill was required to hollow out the raw rock crystal without breaking it and to carve the delicate, often very shallow, decoration that is often a feature of these objects. Eleventh century sources state that the city of Basra in Iraq imported raw crystal to be cut and fashioned into vessels, while Cairo produced objects of the highest quality.

Condition Report: Fair condition, repaired.

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