DISH - Aga Khan Museum
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The Aga Khan Museum: Glass, Rock Crystal and Jade - Fatimid, 10th-11th century CE  Place your mouse over the image
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Glass, Rock Crystal and Jade

Object name

Egypt or Syria

Fatimid, 10th-11th century CE


Materials and technique
Rock crystal

Length 9.3 cm

Accession number


Precious objects fashioned from rock crystal were highly prized in Egypt. They may be linked to the Fatimid period as they are often mentioned in Fatimid treasury accounts, and there are extant objects inscribed with the names of Fatimid caliphs and officials. Valued throughout the centuries, Fatimid rock crystal objects are found today in European royal and church treasuries to which they were brought by Crusaders and travellers to the Holy Land. An extraordinary ewer is kept in the Astorga cathedral museum (León). Another, in the San Marco church treasury, Venice, features an inscription with the name of the Fatimid Imam-caliph al- 'Aziz (r. 975-96 CE). This rectangular dish contains two circular compartments and is decorated with palmettes and scrolls in the familiar “bevelled” style, which ultimately originates in the stucco decoration of Abbasid Samarra (Iraq). The vessel’s shape is unusual and seemingly without parallel in rock crystal from this time. It may have been used as a cosmetics dish or, more likely, as a double inkwell, though there are no extant contemporary rock crystal inkwells in single or double format.

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10 pieces found