Bottle with Blue Trails

Object Name: Bottle

Date: 12th century

Geography: Attributed to probably Syria

Medium: Glass; mold-blown with applied decoration

Dimensions: H. 6 11/16 in. (17 cm)
Max. Diam. 3 1/8 in. (7.9 cm)

Classification: Glass

Credit Line: Purchase, Friends of Islamic Art Gifts, 2005

Accession Number: 2005.318


This appealing pale green bottle was initially blown into a mold with narrow vertical ribs and then inflated so that the ribs appear in very shallow, nearly imperceptible relief. A long, thin trail of dark blue glass spirals around the object, forming an irregular pattern. Additional, shorter trails form a festooned design around the base of the neck, and four small blue blobs dot a larger band created by the spiraling trail. Bottles of this shape and decorated with blobs of glass in contrasting colors were made in Syrian glass factories between the late eleventh and the early thirteenth century. A number of comparable objects and fragments have been excavated in Hama, in west central Syria, and Raqqa, on the bank of the Euphrates River some 150 miles to the northeast. Similar bottles are in museums in Saint Petersburg, Kiev, and Berlin. That a majority of these examples were reportedly found in the Caucasus region or along the coast of the Black Sea suggests that they were part of the well-established glass trade between Syria, northwestern Asia, and eastern Europe