Enameled and Gilded Bottle

Object Name: Bottle

Date: late 13th century

Geography: Attributed to Egypt, possibly Cairo

Medium: Glass, greenish; blown, folded foot; enameled and gilded

Dimensions: H. 17 1/8 in. (43.5 cm)
Max. Diam. 11 in. (27.9 cm)

Classification: Glass

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1941

Accession Number: 41.150


The figural decoration on this bottle is its most extraordinary feature. The early Mamluks were fascinated by the imagery brought from the East by their rivals in western Asia, the Ilkhanids (or Mongols of Iran). The phoenix depicted around the neck is a popular motif that was derived from the Chinese fen-huang and became the simurgh of the Ilkhanids. The composition on the body could represent a series of individual duels or a battle. The horsemen can be identified by their clothing as both Mongol/Ilkhanid and Arab. It is thus likely that the scene represents a Mamluk tournament, or furusiyya (horsemanship) exercises, in which some combatants wore Mongol costumes to mimic actual duels