"Each part of the world recapitulates, shares in and experiences the history of the world as a whole"
Fernand Braudel

Glass Cup

15th century AD
10 cm x 17 cm

The glass industry is deeply rooted in the history of Bilad al-Sham. This industry continued in progress and refinement throughout the Arab conquest and the Islamic ages. Dr. Adel Zaitoun mentions in his book, The Economical Relations between the East and the West during the Middle Ages, that the most important products exchanged between the Italian republics and the Crusader kingdoms founded in Bilad al-Sham in the 13th century is none other than objects of glass. He explains that the purity and finesse of Syrian glass exceeded any other city at the time, and that the Italian demand for it caused an upsurge in the quantity and style of local production, with Syrian glass makers having Italian merchants in mind. Dr. Zaitoun also mentions: “Many researchers have expressed the belief that the glass industries in Venice have their origins in the glass industries in Bilad al-Sham.”

The fact is, however, that while Syria was a main exporter of fine glass in the 13th century, by the 15th century, glass was being imported.

This object is one such example of Italian-made glass imported to Syria. It has a conic body which flares upwards with strings of white glass fluting upwards from the base and horizontal bands decorating the upper portion of the cup. The cup narrows downwards into a tight embossed ring before flaring back out again to form a stable circular base with a short stem.

This honey colored cup was made in Venice in the 15th century AD.

see also