Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Sunday, June 26, 2011

Not Pharaonic Upper Egypt but it is a truly beautiful piece ... it being an Egyptian Fatimid rock crystal ewer (jug) and is about 1,000 years old.  There is a great picture on the Art Daily site.  It's not the picture shown alongside, that is the Fatimid ewer in the V & A collection mentioned in the Art Daily Article which is also beautiful but not, to my mind, as glorious as the one which went on display in the Pergamon this week.  There is no indication what it sold for this time, but in 2008 it sold for £3m and the Daily Mail carried a picture which doesn't show the engraving as well but does show the colours much better.

The V&A article has more information about the Fatimid rock crystal ewers.  Apparently the Cairo treasury orginally listed about 900 but less than 200 are believed to have survived according to the V&A, although the Daily Mail suggests that as few as six ones of this quality are known.  They describe the one now in the Pergamon Museum as a 'Holy Grail Jug' which is wildy inapt but also strangely appropriately evocative at the same time.

There is yet another picture here in an article which stresses just how thin the walls are - and remember these are not blown glass but are sculpted out of a single, solid piece of rock crystal (quartz) which is really skilled craftwork.

Sorry, I know this is later than interests most people but I love glassware.


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