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 0834/1939

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Glass; moulded, cut.


Height 6 cm

Period / Dynasty:

Tulunid, Fatimid


Probably Egypt.


The rectangular flask of translucent colourless glass consists of three sections – neck, body and base. The slightly flared, six-sided neck is faceted and has a rimless opening. The decoration of the body is composed of plain geometric shapes. The shoulder is angular with a V-shaped element at each corner. Triangles of different sizes, incised with large linear cuts, divide the four sides forming a complex aesthetic design. A deep horizontal groove separates the body from the flat base with its four short pyramidal feet.
Because of their shape, these small solid flasks, distinguished by a platform-like base and four short feet, constitute a discrete group. However, their decoration is of such great variety that it is difficult to find similar examples.
These flasks were articles for everyday use and intended to contain perfume, extracts or powders. The great number of surviving flasks is evidence of the extensive use of glass during this time.

View Short Description

Small rectangular flask of translucent colourless glass with a six-sided neck, a body and a base with four short pyramidal feet. Plain geometric shapes form the decoration of the body. Articles of every day use, these flasks were probably used to contain perfumes or other essences.

How date and origin were established:

In the relevant literature, the generally accepted dating of this type of flask is the 3rd–4th / 9th–10th centuries.

How Object was obtained:

Purchased in 1932 by the National Museum of Fine Arts, Stockholm, as a 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.

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;2;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 03


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