Name of Object:



Silves, Faro, Portugal

Holding Museum:

Silves Municipal Archaeology Museum

Date of Object:

Hegira second half of 6th – first half of 7th century / AD second half of 12th – first half of 13th century

Museum Inventory Number:

MMAS 00161

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Gilded glass; moulded.


Height 13 cm, max. diameter (of body) 6.9 cm

Period / Dynasty:



Silves Castle.


Small glass bottle, gilded and translucent, with greenish-brown tones. The flattened spherical form of the body, the tall truncated cone neck and the concave base give it stability and a formal coherence of great quality. The fragility of the material is thus combined with a solidity of form. The refined decoration of the body consists of oval-shaped motifs which become denser in the upper part, around where the neck rises up.
Its shape and refined decoration suggest that it was probably used to contain perfume.
It was found with other luxury objects in the inside of a system of channels, where it is presumed to have been hidden at the end of the Muslim administration of the town, a very turbulent period which resulted in valuable objects being hidden away. This is probably the reason for its having survived intact over the centuries.
This object has unique characteristics in the context of Islamic archaeology in Portugal.

View Short Description

Small gilded glass bottle with green-brown hues. Its shape and decoration suggest that it was used to hold perfume. It was found alongside other luxury Almohad items in a drain, where it must have been hidden just before the town was taken by the Christians.

How date and origin were established:

By comparison with identical objects of the same period.

How Object was obtained:

Housed in the Museum after the excavation that was carried out in the 1990s.

How provenance was established:

Excavation carried out in the Castle at Silves, directed by Rosa Varela Gomes. Excavation inventory number Q 20/C2-7.

Selected bibliography:

Portugal Islâmico: Os últimos Sinais do Mediterrâneo, Lisbon, 1998, p.189.
Gomes, R. V., Palácio Almóada da Alcáçova de Silves, Lisbon, 2001, p.76.

Citation of this web page:

Maria da Conceição Amaral "Bottle" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2018.;ISL;pt;Mus01_B;32;en

Prepared by: Maria da Conceição AmaralMaria da Conceição Amaral

Licenciada em História de Arte (Univ. Coimbra) e pós-graduada em Gestão Cultural nas Cidades (INDEG/ISCTE).
Entre 1993-2002, na Comissão Nacional dos Descobrimentos Portugueses, foi responsável pelo comissariado executivo, produção e gestão de grandes exposições e catálogos, e coordenadora de itinerâncias internacionais, realizadas em Portugal e no Estrangeiro. Destacam-se “Memórias Árabo-Islâmicas em Portugal”, “Culturas do Índico”, “Marrocos – Portugal: Portas do Mediterrâneo”. É sócia-gerente da empresa TerraCulta, Lda, onde desenvolve projectos de conceptualização, gestão e produção cultural. É Directora do Museu de Arqueologia de Silves e do Centro de Interpretação do Património Islâmico. É vice-presidente da Associação Multiculti – culturas do Mediterrâneo e integra a equipa portuguesa da Fundação Euromediterrânica Ann Lindh para o diálogo das civilizações.

Translation by: Gilla Evans
Translation copyedited by: Monica Allen

MWNF Working Number: PT 42


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