H x W (overall): 36.4 x 23.3 cm (14 5/16 x 9 3/16 in)
Purchase -- Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art
This rare four-handled vase bears the characteristic five-petal rosettes associated with the Rasulid dynasty of Yemen (reigned 12291454). Controlling the trade routes to Africa and East Asia, the Rasulids were a formidable sea power and commissioned numerous glass and metal vessels from the Mamluks, based in Egypt and Syria. The vase was reportedly found in China, where it may have arrived as a gift or through a Chinese emissary returning from the Rasulid court.