Of pale green glass. Made of two co-joined tubes surrounded by a wavy trail on either side terminating in two loops for suspension. The forepart is a stylized horse or donkey.
This vessel and similar ones were produced in the Syrian region throughout the early Islamic period. Those vessels were primarily used to hold perfumes or essences, and also used for kohl, whereby a spatula was provided made of bone, metal or glass. Such vessels have been described in the past by several different names, including horse balsamaria animal dromedary flasks, the name derives from openwork structure that surrounds and protects the bottle, is perhaps the most successful. Similar vessels in the shape of a camel belong to the same class attests that the group is not entirely homogeneous. The inspiration of those vessels recalls the celebrated recalls third and fourth century cut glass vasa diatreta, or cage cups, the most famous of which are the so called Trivulzio Bowl, the Lycurgus Cup, and the Situla Pagna (Harden et al. 1987, nos. 134-139). These Roman vessels were later imitated in Alexandria, Egypt, where hot worked trails were used to build the openwork cage around the cup. Usually known as pseudodiatreta, the Egyptian objects provide a more direct source of inspiration for the cage flasks (Bussagli and Chiappori 1991).
A rare vessel of museum quality and seldom in private hands. There are about a dozen intact similar vessels in museums all around the world, all one of a kind objects that combine a high degree of artistic sophistication.
cf: Glass of the Sultans, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Corning Museum of Glass, Stefano Carboni and David Whitehouse, p. 112, no. 30; Glass from Islamic Lands, Thames & Hudson, the Al Sabah Collection, Kuwait National Museum; Toledo Museum, inv. nos 23.2044, 23.2047, 23.2048 (Toledo 1969, fig. p. 36); New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, inv. no. 12.212.6, 22.214.171.124.153 (Jenkins 1986, no. 1.69.153); British Museum, inv. no. OA.1913.5-23.115 (Tait 1991, fig. 153), DC Museum, inv. no. 49/1979 (von Folsach 1990, no.224); Chrysler Museum, Norfolk (Norfolk, 1989, fig. 130; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, inv. no. 29.967 (von Saldern 1968, no. 64); Sotheby’s London sale, April 18, 1984, lot 335; Sotheby’s London sale, June 13 1996, lot 167.