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HOME : Islamic Art : AS Collection 4 : Islamic Glass Alembic
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Islamic Glass Alembic - SF.295
Origin: Central Asia
Circa: 800 AD to 1200 AD
Dimensions: 2" (5.1cm) high x 4.75" (12.1cm) wide
Collection: Islamic
Medium: Glass

Additional Information: AS

Location: Great Britain
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This glass vessel is composed of a deep cup and a long spout or pipe. Similar pieces have been found across the Islamic world from northern Africa to Uzbekistan. There are two interpretaions as to the function of these objects in the literature. Sometimes they are referred to as cupping glasses used by physicians for blood- letting. The Islamic world was renowned for the study of medicine and such objects shed important light on its practice. They are also referred to as 'alembics.' These were used by alchemists in distillation apparatuses designed for a variety of purposes. These included the production of alcohol, perfume, rosewater and date oil. The alembic was the part of the apparatus where the vapour was turned into a liquid state.

This example is turquoise-green with a pearly white patina on the cup itself. The pipe is in an incomplete state but the cup is in excellent condition. This piece should appeal not only to glass collectors but to all those fascinated by the early history of science and medicine. (AM)

For comparable examples see, 'Glass From Islamic Lands: The Al-Sabah Collection, ' (2001), pp. 144-145. - (SF.295)


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