Bottle with four handles

Material: moderately heavy, clear blown glass of greenish-yellow tint, with small bubbles. Decoration in polychrome enamels and gold.

Historical period(s)
Mamluk period, ca. 1325-50
Glass with enamel and gold
H x W (overall): 36.4 x 23.3 cm (14 5/16 x 9 3/16 in)
Egypt, Probably Cairo
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art Collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Glass, Vessel


Mamluk period (1250 - 1517), Roman Period (30 BCE - 395 CE), Syria

From at least 1910-at least 1929
Friedrich Sarre, 1865-1945, purchased from G. R. Harding in London [1]

?-to at least 1934
Jacob Hirsch, Ph.D., New York, method of acquisition unknown [2]

From 1934
The Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Dr. Jacob Hirsch [3]


[1] See Friedrich Paul Theodor Sarre, “Die Ausstellung von Meisterwerken Muhammedanischer Kunst in München, 1910” [book] (München: F. Bruckmann ag., 1912), vol. 2, cat. 2107, pl. 172. Sarre included the bottle in the 1910 exhibition, and noted that it was acquired from G. R. Harding [George R.] in London. See also Carl Johan Lamm, “Mittelalterliche Gläser und Steinschnittarbeiten aus dem Nahen Osten” [book] (Berlin: Dietrich Reimer/Ernst Vohsen, 1929), cat. 9, p. 412, pl. 181.9. Friedrich Sarre was an art historian and collector of Islamic Art, and Director of the Islamic Collections at the Kaiser Friedrich Museum in Berlin (now the Bode Museum) from 1925-1931.

[2] Dr. Jacob Hirsch (1874-1955) was a collector of coins, medals, and classical art, as well as a dealer of archaeological objects. He had an eponymous gallery in New York, as well as businesses in Switzerland and Paris.

[3] See copy of Dr. Jacob Hirsch invoice to Freer Gallery of Art, May 19, 1934, and marked approved on January 12, 1934, in object file.

Research Completed January 10, 2023

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Friedrich Paul Theodor Sarre 1865-1945
Dr. Jacob Hirsch 1874?-1955


Material: moderately heavy, clear blown glass of greenish-yellow tint, with small bubbles. Decoration in polychrome enamels and gold.


This rare four-handled vase bears the characteristic five-petal rosettes associated with the Rasulid dynasty of Yemen (reigned 1229–1454). Controlling the trade routes to Africa and East Asia, the Rasulids were a formidable sea power and commissioned numerous glass and metal vessels from the Mamluks, based in Egypt and Syria. The vase was reportedly found in China, where it may have arrived as a gift or through a Chinese emissary returning from the Rasulid court.

Published References
  • Friedrich Paul Theodor Sarre, Fredrik Robert Martin. Die Ausstellung von Meisterwerken Muhammedanischer Kunst in Muchen, 1910. 3 vols., Munich. vol. 2, pl. 172.
  • Ernst Kuhnel. Islamische Kleinkunst: ein Handbuch fur Sammler and Liebhaber. Bibliothek fur Kunst, 2nd ed. Braunschweig, Germany. opp. p. 224, pl. 15.
  • Richard Ettinghausen. Ancient Glass in the Freer Gallery of Art. Washington, 1962. p. 32.
  • Ideals of Beauty: Asian and American Art in the Freer and Sackler Galleries. Thames and Hudson World of Art London and Washington, 2010. pp. 122-123.
  • Dr. Esin Atil. Art of the Arab World. Exh. cat. Washington, 1975. cat. 75, p. 139.
  • Carl J. Lamm. Mittelalterliche Gläser und Steinschnittarbeiten aus dem Nahen Osten. Forschungen zur Islamischen Kunst 2 vols., Berlin. cat. 9, p. 412, pl. 181.9.
Collection Area(s)
Arts of the Islamic World
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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