Name of Object:



Lisbon, Portugal

Holding Museum:

Calouste Gulbenkian Museum

Date of Object:

Hegira mid-8th century / AD mid-14th century

Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Honey-coloured blown glass with gilded decoration and enamelled in blue, red, pink, green, yellow, light blue and white.


Height 42.5 cm, diameter (of rim) 6.5 cm, max. diameter 30 cm, diameter (of base) 30 cm

Period / Dynasty:



Egypt or Syria.


Bottle with globular-shaped body, a cylindrical neck and convex foot-ring. It has an inscription with a dedication to the Mamluk sultan, 'Glory be to our master, Sultan al-Malik al-Ashraf, the wise, the industrious', in cursive script with ornamental ascending characters (thuluth script), in blue on a background of arabesques of pink and green leaves separated by two medallions. This inscription continues around the neck, repeating the word al-alim (the wise). The upper section of the globular body is filled with delicate stems outlined in red, interspersed with counter-curved cartouches containing trefoil motifs in bright colours, and six circular medallions, each with a phoenix in gilding on a blue background.

View Short Description

Bottle made in Syria or Egypt. The upper part of the belly is covered with plant motifs and six circular medallions with phoenixes. The inscription, which reads ‘Glory to our master, Sultan al-Malik al-Ashraf, the wise, the industrious’, dates this piece to the Mamluk era (AH 8th / AD 14th century).

Original Owner:

Made for Sultan al-Malik al-Ashraf or possibly Sultan al-Ashraf ‘Ala’ al-Din Kayk (r. AH 742–3 / AD 1341–2) or Sultan al-Ashraf Sha’ban (r. AH 764–78 / AD 1363–77)

How date and origin were established:

The inscription with a dedication to Sultan al-Malik al-Ashraf enables us to date the piece to the Mamluk period. This dating is confirmed by stylistic analysis and comparison with works from the same period.

How Object was obtained:

The object belonged to the Rothschild collection, London, and was acquired through Hans Stiebel (S. & R. Rosenberg, London) at the Rothschild Sale at Sotheby's in London in April 1937.

How provenance was established:

By expert examination complemented by archive documents which verify the object's authenticity. For example, the expert's report carried out by Dr Otto von Falke states that: 'After detailed examination of its characteristics, technique and style, this bottle should be considered as an undoubtedly authentic and perfectly intact work of art from the period of the Mamluk sultans of Egypt, from the 14th century to the 15th century AD'.

Selected bibliography:

Museu Calouste Gulbenkian. Catálogo, Lisbon, 2nd edition, 1989.
Ribeiro, M. Q. and Hallet, J., Os Vidros da Dinastia Mameluca no Museu Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon, 1999.

Citation of this web page:

Maria Queiroz Ribeiro "Bottle" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2018.;ISL;pt;Mus01_A;37;en

Prepared by: Maria Queiroz RibeiroMaria Queiroz Ribeiro

Maria Queiroz Ribeiro é conservadora do departamento de Arte Islâmica do Museu Calouste Gulbenkian desde 1996, sendo responsável pelas secções de cerâmica, vidro e arte do livro. Tem comissariado diversas exposições: The World of Lacquer, Lisboa, 2001; Un Jardin Encantado, Arte Islámico en la Colección Calouste Gulbenkian, Madrid, 2001; Islamic Art in the Calouste Gulbenkian Collection, Abu Dhabi, 2004. Participou em colóquios internacionais no International Congress of Turkish Art, apresentando comunicações como Following the trail of Ottoman tiles in Portugal em Utrecht, 1999 e La céramique islamique dans la Collection Gulbenkian, no Musée de la Céramique de Sèvres, em 2003. É autora de Iznik Pottery of the Calouste Gulbenkian Collection, Lisboa, 1996 e co-autora de Mamluk Glass in the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, Lisboa, 1999.

Translation by: Gilla Evans
Translation copyedited by: Monica Allen

MWNF Working Number: PT 50


 Artistic Introduction

 Timeline for this item

On display in

Discover Islamic Art Exhibition(s)

The Mamluks | Everyday life in the Mamluk Sultanate

MWNF Galleries

Calligraphy Glass


As PDF (including images) As Word (text only)