Fish-shaped Vessel

The Show


Fish-shaped vessel 8th–9th centuries, Fustat (medieval Cairo), Egypt Glass Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, 1970.3.965

Fish-shaped vessel

This tiny clear glass vessel is formed into the shape of a fish. The fins are made from heated threads of glass that were strategically affixed and pinched. The vessel's liquid—perhaps a perfume or essential oil—would have been poured out of the fish's mouth. Due to the translucent glass, the liquid also would have been visible inside the vial, playfully moving about in the creature's belly.

Bibliography: Georges 1911; Baer 1998, 104–105; 1968; Scanlon and Pinder-Wilson 2001; and Pinder-Wilson and Scanlon 1973.

Return to the Show