Jewish Pilgrimage glass

jewbyzoctbottle This is a moulded glass bottle, made between 500-650 C.E. It is octagonal in shape, 9.2 cm by 9.4 cm by 9.4 cm. It is decorated with the Jewish symbols of the menorah, the shofar, an incense shovel and the lulav. The bottle was made in Byzantine ruled Syria and was thought to have been made for Jewish pilgrims going to the Holy Land. The bottle is currently in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

blackoctbottle This bottle also is octagonally shaped but the dimensions are 8.1 cm by 7 cm by 7.7 cm. The bottle also has been decorated with the Jewish symbols of the lulav, menorah, incense shovel and shofar. It was mold-blown glass, made between 578–636 C.E. The bottle is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

jewbyzhexjug This molded glass jug is hexagonal in shape and also decorated with the Jewish symbols mentioned above. The dimensions are 15.7 cm by 7.4 cm by 6.8 cm. The jug is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. All three items were thought to have been made in the one workshop.

Recommended reading
Population, Settlement and Economy in Late Roman and Byzantine Palestine (70-641 AD) by Doron Bar. JStor article.
A Court Jew’s Silver Cup by Vivian B. Mann. Metropolitan Museum Journal.
An Empire’s New Holy Land: The Byzantine Period by S. Thomas Parker. JStor article.
Judaism During the Byzantine Period by Yitzchak Schwartz. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Blog.
Religious Contacts in Byzantine Palestine by Gedaliahu G. Stroumsa. JStor article.

An embroidered Mamluk shawl

vandamamlukshawl This textile is from Egypt, made between 1250-1516 C.E. during the Mamluk Sultanate. It is a linen shawl, embroidered with silk in tree and bird motifs with tiraz at the bottom. The shawl is also tasseled. It is currently in the Victoria and Albert Museum.

I have charted it up, which can be downloaded as a pdf document-
vandamamlukshawl (pdf)

Please let me know how the chart goes!

2013 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 29,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 11 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Two similar embroideries

ashmoleantreesandmedallions This embroidery is from Egypt, although the Ashmolean Museum has the dates of construction between 10th to 15th century. It is linen embroidered with dark blue flax, 15.5 long and 13 cm wide. The “trees” have three different ovals, but not enough of the embroidery survives to see if a pattern developed.

I have charted up the pattern, which is available as a pdf-
ashmoleantreesandmedallions (pdf)

There is a similar embroidery in the Victoria & Albert Museum-
vandadouble This is the top embroidery, which is linen embroidered with dark blue silk and a twisted linen fringe. The “trees” have a slightly different design but the same oval designs as the embroidery in the Ashmolean Museum. The medallions are of the same dimensions but a slightly different filling design. The V&A Museum also give the dates of 1250-1516 C.E.

The pattern is available to download as a pdf document-
vandatreesandmedallions (pdf)

I have not charted up the bottom pattern darning embroidery, but will be doing it soon. Let me know how the embroidery goes!

A blackwork with quatrefoils

ashmoleanquatrefoil This Egyptian textile is plain woven linen embroidered with dark blue silk. At the top of the textile there is a rolled hem. It is 25 cm long and 24.5 cm wide. Thought to have been made between the 10th-15th century, it is possible that it is an end of a sash. The textile is in the Ashmolean Museum.

I have charted the design and it can be downloaded as a pdf-
ashmoleanquatrefoils (pdf)

Please let me know how the embroidery goes!

Wooden combs

15thcentvandacomb This wooden comb was thought to have been made in Spain between 1400-1450 C.E. It is pierced boxwood with inlays of silver done in the style of mosaics. This is typical of Nasrid woodwork and it called taracea in Spanish. It is 24.1 cm long. It is in the V & A Museum.

14thcentegyptiancomb This comb was thought be be from the 14th century and was found in Egypt. It is stamped and engraved with a zigzag and holes. There is Arabic on the end, but no translation is on the Qantara site.

13th14thcentcomb This comb is thought to have been made between the 13th and 14th century in Egypt. It is carved with zigzags, circles and an Arabic inscription “firm power”. It is 5.2 cm high and 8.3 cm wide. It is currently in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.


This wooden comb is carved, decorated with joined circles and two Arabic inscriptions “Everlasting Glory” and “and Prosperity”. It is 7.7 cm high and 7.6 cm wide. It is currently in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Recommended reading
Baths and Bathing Culture in the Middle East: The Hammam on the Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History.

A 14th century Egyptian ivory

14thcentegyptianivory This ivory is an Egyptian ivory made in the 14th century. On the full size carving are three figures, the first carrying a Greek cross- 14thcentivory1stfig
The second figure is a crowned man with a sword- 14thcentivory2ndfig
The third figure is of an acolyte, carrying a censor and a cross- 14thcentivory3rdfig
The last figure is a man in a turban and a wine flask- 14thcentivory4thfig

When written up in Ernst Kühnel‘s book ‘Die Islamischen Elfenbeinskulpturen’, the ivory was thought to have been made in the 12th century in Italy, Spain or Sicily. A review of the book can be found in JStor.

The ivory is in the British Museum.

Recommended reading
Die islamischen Elfenbeinskulpturen by Ernst Kühnel. Via Google Books.
Muqarnas, Volume 16: An Annual on the Visual Culture of the Islamic World edited by Gülru Necipoğlu. Via Google Books.
The Oliphant: Islamic Objects in Historical Context by Avînoʻam Šālēm. Via Google Books.