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  • Place of origin:

    Iran (possibly, made)
    Iraq (possibly, made)

  • Date:

    6th century-8th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Glass, cut

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Islamic Middle East, Room 42, The Jameel Gallery, case 1W

This type of thick-walled glass cup is relatively common. The glass was originally clear with a green tinge. The iridescent patina here is the result of a long period of burial. The surface is cut with circular facets in a honeycomb pattern. When Iran was ruled by the Sasanian dynasty (about AD 224 to631), the techniques used to cut precious and semi-precious stones were also used on glass.

When the Middle East passed under Islamic rule in the 7th century, there was no sudden break in artistic production. One of the main influences on early Islamic art was the art of the Sasanian empire. This empire had ruled Iraq, Iran and the western part of Central Asia for four centuries before the Islamic conquest. Sasanian traditions continued for many years after that and so it is often difficult to tell whether an object is late Sasanian or early Islamic.

Physical description

Cup, clear, green-tinged glass, of hemispherical shape with large circular facets all over the surface, now much degraded from burial to an opaque, irridescent finish.

Place of Origin

Iran (possibly, made)
Iraq (possibly, made)


6th century-8th century (made)



Materials and Techniques

Glass, cut


Height: 8.2 cm, Diameter: 10.7 cm

Object history note

Bold facet cutting is characteristic of the glass of pre-Islamic Persia. Such pieces were highly prized and exported, and examples have been recorded as far afield as China and Japan. Weathering during burial has given the once clear glass a metallic finish.

Descriptive line

Cup, glass, hemispherical with honeycomb facet-cut irridescent surface; northern Iraq or north-west Iran, 6th-8th century.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

cf. K.Erdmann (1961; p.33) and E.Kühnel (1931/2;p.28, pl.50)
Ferrier, R. W. (ed), The Arts of Persia, Yale University Press, New Haven & London, 1989. 334p., ill. ISBN 3-8041-801-06230-8
Ch.19, pl. 3

Labels and date

Jameel Gallery

Cut-Glass Cup
Northern Iraq or north-west Iran

Under the Sasanians, the same glass-cutting techniques were applied to precious and semi-precious stones and to glass. This thick-walled cup represents a relatively common type cut with circular facets in a honeycomb pattern. The clear, green-tinged glass is now covered with an iridescent patina due to a long period of burial.

Glass, blown and wheel-cut

Museum no. C.58-1963 [Jameel Gallery]





Subjects depicted



Islam; Glass


Middle East Section

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