Mosaic Bowl

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Object Name: 
Mosaic Bowl
Accession Number: 
Overall H: 5 cm, Diam (max): 20.2 cm
On Display
Web Description: 
The discovery of fragments of mosaic glass vessels and tiles in the ruins of a caliph’s palace built in 836-842 at Samarra (Iraq) indicates that some Islamic mosaic glass was made in the ninth century. It is not known when this production began or ended. With the possible exception of beads, there is no evidence of Sasanian or Roman mosaic glass manufacture after the fourth century. This seems to suggest that the mosaic glassmaking technique may have been rediscovered by Islamic craftsmen. Although little mosaic glass appears to have been produced in the Islamic world, it was nevertheless widely distributed, from Egypt to Iran. This restored bowl is made of cane slices with an opaque yellow circle at the center, surrounded by an opaque white ring and a ring of small white spots in a “black” matrix. When complete, the wall and floor of the vessel would have contained some 1,300 slices.
Uraeus Gallery, Source
Primary Description: 
Opaque yellow, opaque white, and black. Slices of cane fused to form disk, which was sagged; ground and polished. Bowl: shallow, conical. Rim plain, with rounded edge; wall almost straight, but curving in near bottom; foot is restored. All cane slices have yellow circle at center, surrounded by white ring, which is encircled by ring of small white spots in black matrix. Four slices occupy about one square centimeter; when complete, wall and floor would have contained some 1,300 slices.
Dining with the Sultan: The Fine Art of Feasting at the Islamic Courts
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Dining with the Sultan is a pan-Islamic exhibition that will span the eighth through nineteenth centuries (and perhaps beyond) and include some 150 works of art representing a rich variety of media from three continents. We expect this to be a transformative exhibition, one emphasizing our shared humanity rather than our singular histories. It will follow the model of LACMA’s 2011 exhibition Gifts of the Sultan: The Arts of Giving at the Islamic Courts. It similarly will introduce an American audience to Islamic art and culture with objects of undisputed quality and appeal, only this time viewed through the universal lens of fine dining. In considering the admittedly very substantial and diffuse theme of feasting at the Islamic courts, preliminary research has led us to cast as wide a net as possible in terms of both the time frame and the concept of “fine dining.” The resources that inform this study so far are two-fold: 1) Rich textual sources, including a broad array of cook books and books of delicacies, texts on etiquette, instructions for princes, royal memoirs, collections of food poetry and parody, dynastic histories, endowment deeds, kitchen accounts, dietetic and medicinal works, travelers’ narratives, and diplomatic reports and communiqués. 2) Works of art that can be identified from their inscriptions or specific shapes as containers and receptacles for food or beverage, or are associated with preparing and serving food, or else those works that are similar to examples described by the written sources, as well as works of art, primarily manuscript illustrations, which depict food preparation and dining. Clearly it is the second category that primarily will provide the visual focus (the flesh, so to speak) of the exhibition, while the first will supply the documentary framework (the bones, as it were) as conveyed through didactic materials and especially the exhibition catalogue. The sheer quantity of primary sources and the large number of relevant first-rate works of art together indicate the importance of food culture at the Islamic courts. The exhibition, which is in preparation for 2023, will require between 6,000-8,000 sf. It will be organized primarily by sub-themes, which will include topics such as coffee culture in the Ottoman era, outdoor feasting or picnicking, and the continuity of Late Antique/Persian royal cuisine and etiquette at the early Islamic courts. At LACMA, the installation will include our 18th-century Damascus Room in order to suggest the types of architectural spaces used for receiving and feasting family and honored guests. On a popular level, the exhibition will stimulate not only the eyes but the appetite, reminding visitors of the commonly shared pleasure of food—both its taste and its presentation; on a scholarly level the exhibition will provide much needed information on the enormous class of luxury objects that may be broadly defined as tableware, while also demonstrating how gustatory discernment was a fundamental activity at the great Islamic courts.
Glass of the Sultans
Benaki Museum
Corning Museum of Glass
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Designs in Miniature: The Story of Mosaic Glass
Corning Museum of Glass 1995-06-03 through 1995-10-22
Islamic Glass in the Corning Museum of Glass Volume Two (2014) illustrated, p. 14, #596; BIB# 113723
Glass of the Sultans (2001) illustrated, p. 150, #64; BIB# 68105
Glass in the Islamic World (2001) illustrated, [p. 3, top];
Recent Important Acquisitions, 22 (1980) illustrated, p. 89, #9; BIB# AI98082