Name of Object:



Stockholm, Sweden

Holding Museum:

Museum of Mediterranean and Near Eastern Antiquities (Medelhavsmuseet)

About Museum of Mediterranean and Near Eastern Antiquities (Medelhavsmuseet), Stockholm

Date of Object:

Hegira 3rd–4th centuries / AD 9th–10th centuries

Museum Inventory Number:

NM 0833/1939

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Glass; moulded, cut.


Height 7 cm

Period / Dynasty:

Tulunid; Fatimid


Probably Egypt.


The flask of translucent bluish glass consists of the neck and the body. The lower part of the long conical neck has three rings in relief that divide the surface into sections of different widths. The round opening has a flanged rim. A wide horizontal strip around the body divides the four sides of the flask into two equal sections. The shoulders are faceted and ornamented in high relief with double triangles. In the lower section towards the base the tapering sides are faceted, sloping to form four elongated feet, which are now missing.
This flask belongs to the type of 'molar' flasks, so called after the shape of their elongated, wedge-shaped feet that resemble the root of a molar tooth. The purpose of this shape was probably functional. Flasks of this type were articles for everyday use and intended to contain perfume or essence.

View Short Description

Small flask of translucent bluish glass with a long conical neck and a four-sided body. A characteristic of this kind of flask is their elongated, wedge-shaped feet, which are missing here. These flasks were probably used for perfumes or essences.

How date and origin were established:

In the relevant literature the generally accepted dating of molar flasks is the 3rd–4th / 9th–10th centuries.

How Object was obtained:

Purchased in 1932 by the National Museum of Fine Arts as part of the so-called Hannibal collection from the Russian art dealer Hannibal, in Tehran, on behalf of the Swedish art historian Carl Johan Lamm (1902–82). The collection consists in total of around 750 items of Egyptian and Persian glass.

How provenance was established:

Acquired by the Russian art dealer Hannibal in Egypt. This specific form of molar flasks originated in Egypt.

Selected bibliography:

Carboni, S., Glass from Islamic Lands: The Al-Sabah Collection, London, 2001.
Lamm, C. J., Mittelalterliche Gläser und Steinschnittarbeiten aus dem Nahen Osten, 2 vols., Berlin, 1929–30.
Lamm, C. J., Glass from Iran in the National Museum, Stockholm; Uppsala, 1935.
Scanlon, G. T. and Pinder-Wilson, R., Fustat Glass of the Early Islamic Period, London, 2001.

Citation of this web page:

Friederike Voigt "Flask" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2021.;ISL;se;Mus01;1;en

Prepared by: Friederike VoigtFriederike Voigt

Friederike Voigt has an MA in Iranian studies, history of art and social science and is currently working on her doctoral thesis on wall tiles in architectural decoration of Qajar Iran. Since 2004 she has been a project-related curator at the Museum for Mediterranean and Near Eastern Antiquities in Stockholm for Museum With No Frontiers. She studied at Humboldt University in Berlin, at the University of Tehran and archaeology at the University of Halle-Wittenberg. She taught Persian language at several universities in Germany. She was an assistant curator at the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Cultures at the Museum of Ethnology, State Museums of Berlin. Her main fields of interest are the material culture of Iran, especially of the Qajar period, and contemporary Iranian art.

Copyedited by: Monica Allen

MWNF Working Number: SE 02


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