Vessels of this characteristic shape, a rounded bowl with a pronounced, tall foot, were sometimes called tazze and were thought to evoke Christian chalices. They became popular in the Islamic eastern Mediterranean during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, a period of active exchange between the Islamic and Christian worlds. This piece is among the earliest known examples of enameled glass. Its ornament and iconography is part of the "courtly cycle" referring to the lifestyle of the rulers and elites of medieval Islamic societies from Egypt to Anatolia.
The design features four circular medallions with a bird of prey. While no particular ruler or officer can be associated with the emblem, such birds of prey were common symbols of power, kingship, and to a certain extent, protection in both Muslim and Christian contexts. Flanking the inscription band and on the foot, rows of dogs chasing hares evoke the hunt, while a frieze of seated musicians and feasting figures replaces part of the inscription. Both the hunt and the feast pertain to the courtly cycle and evoke ideals of kingship.
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Title:Footed Bowl with Eagle Emblem
Geography:Attributed to probably Syria
Medium:Glass; dip-molded, blown, enameled, and gilded
Dimensions:H. 7 3/16 in. (18.3 cm) Max. Diam. 8 in. (20.3 cm) Diam. of Base: 5 in. (12.7 cm)
Credit Line:Edward C. Moore Collection, Bequest of Edward C. Moore, 1891
Along with gilded examples, the most treasured glass objects in the Islamic world were the enameled ones, which developed during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries in Syria and Egypt under the Ayyubids and Mamluks. At the time of Moore’s collecting, the present vessel was already admired and celebrated among collectors, dealers, and artists. It was displayed at the 1867 Exposition Universelle in Paris together with its glass copy by Philippe-Joseph Brocard (fig. 66); a ceramic copy was also made (fig. 67). Moore had acquired the bowl from the Frenchman Charles Schefer, a leading collector and scholar of Islamic glass. After the Moore bequest entered the Metropolitan Museum, the piece was lauded as "the gem of the collection" and "the most beautiful as well as valuable" example of enameled glass.
Vessels of this characteristic shape, a rounded bowl with a pronounced, tall foot, were sometimes called tazze and were thought to evoke Christian chalices. They became popular in the Islamic eastern Mediterranean during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, a period of active exchange between the Islamic and Christian worlds. This piece is among the earliest known examples of enameled glass. Its ornament and iconography display a repertoire common to certain works (inlaid metalwork, in particular) produced for the rulers and elites of medieval Islamic societies from Egypt to Anatolia. The design features a central inscription band punctuated by four circular medallions with an emblem showing a central bird of prey with another on each side. While no particular ruler or officer can be associated with the emblem, such birds were common symbols of power, kingship, and to a certain extent protection in both Muslim and Christian contexts. Flanking the inscription band and on the foot, rows of dogs chasing hares evoke the hunt, while a frieze of seated musicians and feasting figures replaces part of the inscription. Both the hunt and the feast pertain to the courtly cycle and evoke ideals of kingship.
The verses of Arabic poetry in the inscription are identical to those on the Palmer Cup from the British Museum, thought to have been a libation vessel. Although it is not clear if the present bowl was employed in a ceremonial context, the poetry (another courtly element), iconography, and shape suggest a use involving wine or another intoxicating beverage. The person drinking from the bowl — probably a member of the ruling elite — would have been protected by the Seal of Solomon, the interlacing six-pointed star depicted twice on the underside of the body.
Deniz Beyazit in [Medill Higgins Harvey 2021]
1. See Stefano Carboni. "Painted Glass" in Stefano Carboni and David Whitehouse, Glass of the Sultans, exh. cat. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art; Corning: Corning Museum of Glass: Athens, 2001, pp. 199–207.
2. See recent publications on the bowl by Stefano Carboni: Stefano Carboni in Carboni and Whitehouse 2001 (see note 1), pp. 240–42, no. 120; Stefano Carboni. "Art of Egypt and Syria (10th to 16th Centuries" in Ekhtiar, Maryam, Priscilla Soucek, Sheila R. Canby, and Navina Najat Haidar, eds. Masterpieces from the Department of Islamic Art in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2011, p. 139; Carboni in Ekhtiar et al. 2011, (ibid) pp. 161–62, no. 110. For the historiography of the piece, see Vernoit, Stephen. "Islamic Gilded and Enamelled Glass in Nineteenth-Century Collections." In Gilded and Enamelled Glass from the Middle East, edited by Rachel Ward, pp. 110–15. London: Published for the Trustees of the British Museum by the British Museum Press, 1998. A drawing of the bowl was illustrated as early as 1859 (see Eugene-Victor Collinot and Adalbert de Beaumont. Recueil de dessins pour l'art et l'industry. Paris, 1859, pl. 196); the piece was copied in the 1860s by French glassmakers, first by Philippe-Joseph Brocard (fig. 66) and later by Jacques-Philippe Imberton; and it was published both in its original form and as an imitation / copy in ceramic and glass. See also Labrusse, Remi. Islamophilies: L’Europe moderne et les arts de l’Islam. Paris: Somogy, 2011, p. 272, no. 160, p. 273, nos. 161a, 161b, 162, and fig. 78.
3. The caption of the drawing published in 1859 (see note 2) mentions that the bowl was found in a barbershop in Damascus and was already in the Schefer collection; Collinot and Beaumont 1859, pl. 196 (note 2). Moore may have acquired it in 1886, when Schefer moved from Paris to the Alps and sold various of his works. After Schefer’s death in 1898, the rest of his collection was sold in Paris and mainly dispersed; Vernoit 1998 (see note 2), pp. 110–11. The bowl is no. 2587 in an early inventory of the Moore collection; see "Complete List, E. C. Moore Collection, Belonging to the Dr. I. H. Hall Office," undated [1891–96], Edward C. Moore Collection files, Office of the Secretary Records, MMA Archives.
4. See "The Moore Collection: A Valuable Gift to The Metropolitan Museum of Art." The Sun (New York), March 6, 1892, p. 19 and "The Edward C. Moore Collection." The Collector 3, no. 13, May 1, 1892, p. 199; "Priceless Works of Art: The Moore Collection Opened at the Metropolitan Museum." The World (New York), May 3, 1892, p. 10.
5. The characteristic arabesque composition on the body relates, for example, to the decoration on a candlestick in the Louvre attributed to the school of Mosul; see Julian Raby. "The Principle of Parsimony and the Problem of the Mosul School of Metalwork." In: Metalwork and Material Culture in the Islamic World, edited by Venetia Porter and Mariam Rosser-Owen, pp. 11–85. London: I. B. Tauris, 2012, fig. 1.7. It also compares with a particular kind of sculptural metalwork produced in the Jazira and Syria in the first half of the thirteenth century; for examples, see Deniz Beyazit in Sheila R.Canby, Deniz Beyazit, Martina Rugiadi, and A.C.S. Peacock. Court and Cosmos: The Great Age of the Seljuqs. Exh. cat. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2016, p. 188, fig. 175, p. 252, no. 159. Comparable objects in Moore’s collection include cats. 108, 110, and 112 in this volume [91.1.586, 91.1.572, 91.1.603].
6. For the bird of prey, see Beyazit in Canby et al. 2016 (see note 5), pp. 236–37, no. 148a, b; Michael Falcetano in Canby et al. 2016 (ibid), pp. 238–40, nos. 149–51. For a discussion of this motif and an attempt to associate it with a Mamluk ruler, see Carboni in Carboni and Whitehouse 2001 (see note 2), pp. 241–42.
7. See "The Courtly Cycle" chapter in Canby et al. 2016 (see note 5), pp. 72–165.
8. Carboni in Carboni and Whitehouse 2001 (see note 1), p. 242. The verses can be translated as "His (Her) face is like the brilliant shining moon, The posture like a tender blooming sprout"; see Carboni in Carboni and Whitehouse 2001, (ibid) p. 241; Carboni in Ekhtiar et al. 2011 (see note 2), p. 161.
9. A comparable bowl with the same motif is in the L. A. Mayer Museum of Islamic Art in Jerusalem; see Rachel Hasson. "An Enameled Glass Bowl with 'Solomon's Seal': In Gilded and Enamelled Glass from the Middle East, edited by Rachel Ward, pp. 41–44. London: Published for the Trustees of the British Museum by the British Museum Press, 1998. For a discussion of the seal, see Ekhtiar and Parikh forthcoming.
Footed Bowl (Tazza)
This footed bowl, or tazza, was first blown in a single-part vertical mold with twenty-four ribs and then optic blown and tooled. The mouth was folded upward, pulled over, and secured to the rim. The bowl and foot were made separately. The decoration is divided into a series of registers. Below the rim, at the join of bowl and foot, and at the base of the foot, there are registers with similar interlaced festooned patterns in gold. Three bands linked by four circular medallions cover most of the body of the bowl. The upper and lower bands contain a sequence of various quadrupeds depicted in right profile and set against a vegetal background (a similar band is also present on the foot). The central register, subdivided into four sections by the medallions, alternates an inscription and a row of small human figures engaged in various activities. Each of the four medallions includes the figure of a black eagle painted frontally with spread talons and placed against a white background within a circle; two sketchy birds in profile flanking the eagle; and two pseudovegetal compositions in blue, green, and red above and below the eagle. The underside of the bowl presents four circular medallions: those containing a six-pointed star alternate with those bearing complex pseudovegetal compositions.
This splendid footed bowl, now missing its lid, is justifiably one of the most often reproduced objects in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum. It was reportedly in the possession of a barber in Damascus and, after Charles Schefer acquired it, was copied by the French artists Philippe-Joseph Brocard and J.-D. lmberton in the 1860s and 1870s (Vernoit 1998, p. 111, fig. 25.2). A similar vessel, albeit with different decoration, is now in the British Museum (Lamm 1929–30, pl.158:5). Several features point to an early dating within the framework of enameled-glass production. As mentioned previously (see cat. no. 113 in this volume), fluted enameled vessels probably span the late Ayyubid and early Mamluk periods. The discreet employment of several colored enamels and the generous use of gold, together with other details of the decorative program, also suggest a mid-thirteenth-century attribution.
The emblem and the inscription do not help in linking this luxury object to any particular sultan or emir. Although the image of an eagle does appear as an emblem in Mamluk heraldry, its significance is not clear. In the case of the emir Tuquzdamur (see cat. no. 117 in this volume), the symbol is combined with the sign of one of his offices, the cup of the saqi (Cupbearer), and may be related to his appointments in Syria; the emblem of another emir, Bahadur al-Hamawi (d. 1293), employs an eagle above the napkin of the jamdar, or Keeper of the Wardrobe (Mayer 1933, pp. 95–96). Eagles appear alone on several ceramic fragments (Mayer 1933, pls. 2,3) and on two surviving objects: a spherical incense burner in the British Museum and a manuscript in the Oriental Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Saint Petersburg (Ward 1993, fig. 87, and Petrosyan et al. 1995, no. 22, respectively). The bird of prey on the burner differs in being doubleheaded, an iconographic feature that links it directly to the original form of this heraldic symbol, which arose in the region of the Jazira in the twelfth century, as well to the emir Badr al-Din Baysari al-Zahiri al-Shamsi (d. 1298), an officer of Baybars I and Baraka Khan (Mayer 1933, p.112). (The present author has suggested elsewhere that the double-headed eagle may be associated with Baraka Khan himself; see Carboni 2001, no. 92) Assuming that this difference is indeed meaningful, the patron of the present tazza cannot be Badr al-Din Baysari.
The eagle most similar to that on the tazza appears within a hexagon in the frontispiece of the Saint Petersburg manuscript, a unique work made in the first decade of the fourteenth century for Musa ibn al-Malik al-Salih, a nephew of the sultan Nasir Muhammad ibn Qalaun. There, however, the bird does not seem to be a meaningful Mamluk heraldic symbol, and other features suggest that it may not be original to the manuscript (Carboni 1995, p. 84). Since the title of the manuscript–a panegyric of Muhammad ibn Qalaun–is almost identical to that of a text written for Baybars I a few decades earlier, it is possible that the first text included a similar illuminated frontispiece with an emir's eagle emblem. Indirectly, this helps to confirm a thirteenth-century attribution for the tazza.
The inscriptions on the great majority of enameled-glass pieces are eulogic, historical, or Qur'anic. The poetic verse here has, to my knowledge, only one parallel in the medium, the so-called Palmer Cup, although Carl Johan Lamm also mentions a beaker in the Museum of Islamic Art, Cairo, that bears the same inscription (1929–30, p. 374). The two hemistiches, if they are indeed halves of the same verse in a weak ramal meter, are written in blue enamel within bands on opposite sides of the vessel. The more legible first half compares the face of the beloved to the moon, a common poetic image. The second hemistich, continuing the imaginative comparison, seems to refer to the tall and slender, cypresslike figure of the beloved, although it has not been possible to find the complete verse in divans of Arabic poetry. The verses on the Palmer Cup, a large beaker from the collection of Waddesdon Manor and now in the British Museum, clearly relate to the function of the vessel as a libation cup (Contadini 1998, pp. 56–57). Here, the relationship between the verse and the object on which it was copied is obscure or, at least, more subtle. The comparison to the moon can perhaps be interpreted literally: the bowl is circular and heavily gilded and was probably filled with an intoxicating beverage that had the effect of making the drinker's posture "tender" and curved (the equivalent of the word aghyad on the Palmer Cup). It is also tempting to associate this image with the previously mentioned Badr al-Din Baysari, whose name includes the title "the Full Moon of the Religion," even though his emblem was a double-headed eagle.
Stefano Carboni in [Carboni and Whitehouse 2001]
Stefano Carboni."The Arabic Manuscripts." In Petrosyan et al. 1995 (see below), pp. 77–91.
Stefano Carboni. Glass from Islamic Lands: The al-Sabah Collection. London, 2001.
Anna Contadini. Fatimid Art at the Victoria and Albert Museum. London, 1998.
Carl Johan Lamm. Mittel-Alterliche Gläser und Steinschnitt-arbeiten aus dem Nahen Osten. 2 vols. Forschungen zur Islamischen Kunst. 5. Berlin, 1929–30.
L. A. Mayer. Saracenic Heraldry: A Survey. Oxford, I933.
luri A. Petrosyan, Oleg F. Akimushkin, Anas B. Khalidov, Efim A. Rezvan, Marie Lukens Swietochowski, and Stefano Carboni. Pages of Perfection: Islamic Paintings and Calligraphy from the Russian Academy of Sciences, Saint Petersburg. Exh. cat. Musee du Petit Palais, Paris; Villa Favorita, Lugano; and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Lugano and Milan, 1995.
Stephen J. Vernoit. "Islamic Gilded and Enamelled Glass in Nineteenth-Century Collections." In Rachel Ward, ed. Gilded and Enamelled Glass from the Middle East. London, 1998, pp. 110-15.
Rachel Ward. Islamic Metalwork. Eastern Art Series. New York, 1993.
Footed Bowl (Tazza)
A note found in the archives of the Museum as part of Edward C. Moore’s celebrated bequest in 1891 names "this tazza" as "the crown and glory of the collection." Indeed, some 120 years after it entered the Museum, it is still one of the best-known, most impressive, beloved, and frequently published works in the Islamic art collection. Even though its original domed lid is missing, its appealing, elegant profile, honey-colored glass, and lavish decoration dominated by the use of gold fully justify its fame.
The bowl was also among the first to be instrumental in fostering an appreciation of Islamic enameled-and-gilded glass in the second half of the nineteenth century. French imitators of this complex decorative glass technique, among them Philippe-Joseph Brocard and J. D. Imberton, copied this bowl in the 1870s and 1880s, while it was in the possession of the collector Charles Schéfer (who had reputedly acquired it from a barber in Damascus). One of the earliest modern studies on glass appropriately includes an illustration of this object.
A bowl supported on a tall foot is known as a tazza, a term that may derive from the Arabic tas. This shape is most likely datable to the transitional period between Ayyubid and Mamluk rule in Syria around the middle of the thirteenth century. Here, the generous use of gold, modest use of other enameled colors, small scale of the figures, shallow, molded vertical ribs of the walls, and poetic inscription reinforce this attribution. The author of the verse, copied in cursive naskhi calligraphy around the largest diameter of the bowl, has long been unknown. Recent research by Abdullah Ghouchani has revealed that the text appears, albeit with slight variations, in the corpus of Ja‘far ibn Muhammad ibn Mukhtar (A.H. 543–622 /1148–1225 A.D.).
The exact function of this tazza has not been determined, although sources suggest that it may have contained sweetmeats, dates, or nuts. However, if the poetic reference and the glow of its golden decoration lead the viewer to imagine it full of sweet wine or fuqqa‘ (beer), the vision of a full moon sounds entirely appropriate.
Stefano Carboni in [Ekhtiar, Soucek, Canby, and Haidar 2011]
1. See Stephen J. Vernoit. "Islamic Gilded and Enamelled Glass in Nineteenth-Century Collections." In Rachel Ward, ed. Gilded and Enamelled Glass from the Middle East. London, 1998, pp. 110-15, esp. p. 111, fig. 25.2.
2. Gerspach 1885, fig. 44.
3. The verse is translated in Carboni et al 2001, p. 241.
4. See Salah al-Din Khalil ibn Aybak al-Safadi. Kitab al-wafi bil-wafayat/Das biographische Lexikon des Salahaddin Halil Ibn Aibak as-Safadi. Edited by Shukir Faysal. Tamir bis al-Hasan, 11. Wiesbaden, 1981, p. 146.
Inscription: In Arabic in naskhi script:
یا طلعة القمر المنیر الزاهر
یا قامة الغصن الرطیب الناضر
His (Her) face is like the brilliant shining moon,
The posture like a tender blooming sprout
This poem is by Jaʻfar ibn Muḥammad Ibn Mukhtār (A.H. 543–622 /A.D. 1148–1225) and appears in a slight variation in: al-Ṣafadī, al-Wāfī b᾽il-Wafīyyāt, ed. Shukr Fayṣal, Franz Steiner verlag GMBH, Wiesbaden, 1981, vol.11, p. 146.
(A. Ghouchani 2012)
Charles H.A. Schéfer, Paris (by 1870s); Edward C. Moore (American), New York (until d. 1891; bequeathed to MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Gold," April 14–September 9, 1973, no catalogue.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Renaissance of Islam: Art of the Mamluks," November 21, 1981–January 10, 1982, suppl. #29.
The Hagop Kevorkian Special Exhibitions Gallery, New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Glass Gathers," May 24, 1990–March 31, 1991, no catalogue.
Corning, NY. Corning Museum of Glass. "Glass of the Sultans," May 24–September 3, 2001, no. 120.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Glass of the Sultans," October 2, 2001–January 13, 2002, no. 120.
Athens, Greece. Benaki Museum. "Glass of the Sultans," February 20–May 15, 2002, no. 120.
Paris. Musée du Louvre. "Louvre Long Term Loan," April 28, 2004–April 27, 2006, no catalogue.
Lyons. Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lyons. ""Islamophilia": Islamic Art, Europe and Modernity," March 31, 2011–July 4, 2011, no. 160.
Collinot, Eugène, and Adalbert de Beaumont. "Recueil de dessins pour l’art et l’industrie." In Encyclopédie des arts décoratifs de l’Orient. Ornements de la Perse. Paris, 1880. ill. pls. 13, 14.
Gerspach, Edouard. L'Art de la Verrerie. Bibliotheque de l'enseignement des beaux-arts. Paris: A. Quantin, 1885. pp. 101–3, ill. fig. 44.
Artin Pacha, Yacoub. Contribution à l'étude du Blason en Orient. London: Bernard Quaritch, 1902. pp. 88–97: opinions about origins of the eagle crest.
Lamm, Carl Johan. Mittelalterliche Gläser und Steinschnittarbeiten aus dem Nahen Osten. Forschungen zur Islamischen Kunst 5, vol. I, II. Berlin, Germany: D. Reimer, 1929–1930. vol. I, pp. 373–74, ill. pls. 158, 160.
Dimand, Maurice S. A Handbook of Mohammedan Decorative Arts. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1930. pp. 188, 190, ill. fig. 117 (b/w).
Dimand, Maurice S. A Handbook of Muhammadan Art. 2nd rev. and enl. ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1944. p. 239, ill. fig. 155 (b/w).
"Gold." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin vol. 31, no. 2 (Winter 1972/1973). pp. 107–9, ill. pp. 108–9 (color).
Nickel, Helmut. "A Mamluk Axe." Islamic Art in The Metropolitan Museum of Art (1972). p. 216, ill. fig. 4 (b/w).
Jenkins-Madina, Marilyn. "Islamic Glass: A Brief History." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin vol. 44, no. 2 (Fall 1986). pp. 38–39, ill. fig. 46 (color).
Vernoit. "Islamic Gilded and Enamelled Glass in Nineteenth-century Collections." Gilded and Enamelled Glass from the Middle East (1998). no. 14, p. 206, ill. fig. 25.1 (b/w); discussed pp. 111, 113, 115, ill. pl. E (color) and pp. 206–10 (b/w).
Jenkins-Madina, Marilyn. "Collecting the "Orient" at the Met: Early Tastemakers in America." Ars Orientalis vol. 30 (2000). p. 79, ill. fig. 9 (b/w).
Carboni, Stefano, David Whitehouse, Robert H. Brill, and William Gudenrath. Glass of the Sultans. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001. no. 120, pp. 240–42, ill. p. 240 (color).
Ettinghausen, Richard, Oleg Grabar, and Marilyn Jenkins-Madina. Islamic Art and Architecture 650–1250. 2nd ed. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2001. p. 253, ill. fig. 420 (color).
Wypyski, Mark. Metropolitan Museum Studies in Art, Science, and Technology. vol. 1. New York, 2010. pp. 109, 111, 120–1, 126, ill. fig. 2.
Ekhtiar, Maryam, Priscilla P. Soucek, Sheila R. Canby, and Navina Haidar, ed. Masterpieces from the Department of Islamic Art in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1st ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2011. no. 110, pp. 139, 161–62, ill. p. 161 (color).
Labrusse, Rémi. "L'Europe moderne et les arts de l'Islam." In Islamophilies. Paris and Lyon: Somogy Editions d'Art, 2011. no. 160, p. 272, ill. (color).
Higgins Harvey, Medill, ed. Collecting Inspiration : Edward C. Moore at Tiffany & Co.. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2021. no. 122, pp. 188–89. ill. p. 189.
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