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Beaker
late 13th century

Mamluk period

Glass
H: 29.5 W: 17.2 D: 17.2 cm
Syria

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Enameled glass vessels were one of the most sought-after luxury items of medieval Syria and Egypt, avidly collected by wealthy patrons throughout the Islamic world and beyond. A technical virtuosity, enameled glass was created by outlining the decorative elements with red enamel and filling them in with white, blue, green, yellow and other colors. Much like the process for luster-painted ceramics, the enamel was applied cold and fixed to the surface by firing the vessel again at a low temperature. This fluted, honey-colored beaker is one of the largest drinking vessels to survive intact from the Mamluks in Egypt and Syria (1250-1517). Its decoration is probably inspired by contemporary manuscript paintings and depicts courtly figures and scenes of royal pastimes, such as hunting and polo.