Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Shaped Inlay Pieces

Object Name:
9th century
Excavated in Iraq, Samarra
Glass; mold blown and tooled
a) H. 2 1/4 in. (5.7 cm)
D. 1 1/4 in. (3.2 cm)
b) H. 2 1/8 in. (5.4 cm)
D. 1 3/4 in. (3.2 cm)
c) H. 1 7/8 (4.8 cm)
D. 1 1/2 in. (3.8 cm)
d) H. 1 3/4 in. (4.4 cm)
D. 1 3/8 in. (3.5 cm)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1923
Accession Number:
Not on view
These small shaped inlay pieces made of clear glass were once embedded in plaster with mother-of-pearl to create reflective designs. They were found at Samarra in the rubble of its Main Caliphal Palace (Dar al-Khilafa) along with fragments of glass tiles. While there is no direct precedent known yet for this type of decoration in early-Islamic Iraq, small colored glass inlay pieces were excavated at the sixth-century Byzantine Church of St. Polyeuktos in Istanbul, where they had been inlaid into a marble column shaft.
British Museum, London (until 1923; sold to Robert L. Hobson for MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Herzfeld in Samarra," June 5, 2002–March 6, 2003, no catalogue.

Jenkins-Madina, Marilyn. "Islamic Glass: A Brief History." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin vol. 44, no. 2 (Fall 1986). p. 54, ill. fig. 75 (color).

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