The Corning Ewer

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Object Name: 
The Corning Ewer
Accession Number: 
Overall H: 16 cm, Diam (max): 9.3 cm
On Display
about 1000
Credit Line: 
Purchased with funds from the Clara S. Peck Endowment
Web Description: 
The Corning Ewer is an outstanding example of Islamic relief-cut cameo glass. A layer of transparent light green glass was applied to a layer of colorless glass. Most of the outer layer was then cut away, leaving the decoration in relief. Although the Romans made cameo glass, scholars believe that this technique did not continue into the Islamic period. It was probably rediscovered in Western Asia or Egypt in the ninth century. The decoration of the Corning Ewer shows two opposed horned animals with crossed forelegs, each of which has a bird of prey perched on its rump and pecking at the back of its neck. At the edges of the panel are two parrot-like birds standing on foliage. What makes this design of unparalleled elegance and subtlety even more distinctive is that it was accomplished on walls of eggshell thinness.
Abas Foundation, Source
Primary Description: 
Translucent pale green over colorless. Blown, cased; relief-cut, drilled; handle applied. Ewer with pear-shaped body. Rim plain, outsplayed, with oval mouth and pointed pouring lip; neck narrow; foot hollow, splayed; ribbon handle attached to lower part of body and rim. Decorated in relief: one band on lip; two bands on neck, one curving up toward pouring lip; panel with birds and animals on body, defined at top by border with superficial incised crosses alternating with deeper printies, and at bottom by plain line that turns up at extremities and follows line of handle until it meets upper border; inside panel, pair of opposed, regardant horned quadrupeds with crossed forelegs, each with bird of prey perched on rump and pecking at back of neck; behind these, at each edge of panel, parrot-like bird on branch, its back to bird of prey and head turned back over shoulder, with scrolling palmette spray in beak; hind leg joints of animals and wing coverts of raptors terminate in half-palmettes; bodies of animals and raptors enlivened with printies; behind handle, green overlay cut in tall, tapering form; lower end of handle cut in relief with heart-shaped palmette above two volutes; at highest point of handle, remains of elaborate bifurcated thumb-rest.
Glass of the Sultans
Benaki Museum
Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Arts of Islam
Hayward Gallery 1976 through 1976
Contemporary Glass Vessels: Selections from the Corning Museum of Glass (2015) illustrated, p. 18 (fig. 20); BIB# 149403
Celebrating David Whitehouse (2013) illustrated, p. 6, second from left; BIB# AI93999
Escort Guide to the Galleries (2013) illustrated, p. 14, bottom; BIB# 134015
Escort Guide to the Galleries [V4/2013] (2013) illustrated, p. 14, bottom; BIB# 134856
Glass: A Short History (Smithsonian Books edition) (2012) illustrated, pp. 52-53; BIB# 130360
Glass: A Short History (The British Museum edition) (2012) illustrated, pp. 51-52; BIB# 135965
Making Ideas at the Corning Museum of Glass (2012) illustrated, p. 93, upper left; BIB# AI97173
The Corning Ewer (family) (2011)BIB# 131530
Corning Museum of Glass 60 Years (2011) illustrated, p. 12, bottom right; BIB# 138760
The illustrated encyclopedia of glass (2011) illustrated, p. 128; BIB# 128671
Glass, Knocking at the Door of Art (2010) illustrated, p. 29; BIB# 115616
Islamic Glass in the Corning Museum of Glass Volume One (2010) illustrated, Cover; pp. 296-300, #522; BIB# 113723
Islamic Glass in the Corning Museum of Glass Volume One (2010) illustrated, Cover; pp. 296-300, #522; BIB# 113723
Corning Museum of Glass (2009-01) illustrated, p. 5; BIB# 109342
Yi shu bo li he zhuang shi bo li (Artistic Glass and Decorative Glass) (2009) illustrated, p. 110, pl. 2 (fig. 5-12a); BIB# 166455
The Joy of Coldworking (2009) illustrated, p. 16; BIB# 107182
New Glass Review, 28 (2007) illustrated, p. 81;
Histoire du Verre: les chefs-d'oeuvre de l'Islam (2007) illustrated, p. 89; BIB# 98424
Tesori del Vetro al Corning Museum of Glass (2005-12) illustrated, pp. 16-31; p. 21, fig. 5; BIB# AI67739
Favorite Things (2005) illustrated, back cover; BIB# AI98438
The encyclopedia of modern marbles, spheres & orbs (2005) illustrated, p. 20 fig. 15; BIB# 88983
Akantas (2004) illustrated, p. 13;
Early Islamic Cameo Glass in The Corning Museum of Glass (2003) illustrated, Cover; p. 149, fig. 1; BIB# AI57285
Plastik sanatlarda cam malzemenin uygulanisi (2003) illustrated, p. 21, fig. 2.11; BIB# 120381
Islamic Masterworks: 'Glass of the Sultans' at the Met (2001-11) illustrated, fig. 22;
On Exhibit: Glass of the Sultans, Islamic Artistry (2001) illustrated, p. 56 top; BIB# AI52052
The Encyclopedia of Glass (2001) p. 113; BIB# 69319
Glass of the Sultans (2001) illustrated, p. 184, #90; BIB# 68105
Museums Magazines (2001) illustrated, p. 3; BIB# 101700
Glass of the Sultans (2001) illustrated, p. 105, top;
Glass in the Islamic World (2001) illustrated, [p. 4, bottom];
Heart of Glass (2001) illustrated, p. 5 (top); BIB# AI98823
Fustat Glass of the Early Islamic Period (2001) illustrated, pp. 296-300, #522; BIB# 75800
Islamic Art and Architecture 650-1250 (2001) illustrated, p. 206, number 329; BIB# 65609
Glass of the Sultans (American Craft Magazine) (2001) pp. 64-65; BIB# AI0181
Beauty of Glass (2000) illustrated, p. 108; BIB# 77736
Uncovering treasures in the Empire State (1999) pp. 128-135, ill. p. 129; BIB# AI43699
Fatimid Art at the Victoria and Albert Museum (1998) illustrated, p. 23, #20; BIB# 60118
The Story of Crystal (1998) illustrated, Venetian chapter; BIB# 85420
The Corning Museum of Glass, Curators' Choice (1995) illustrated, #5; BIB# 36655
Glass Fusing 1 (1994) p. 3, #8; BIB# 45679
The Corning Ewer: A Masterpiece of Islamic Cameo glass (1993) illustrated, pp. 48-51, figs. 1-5;
The Corning Museum of Glass and the Finger Lakes Region (1993) illustrated, p. 4, #8; pp. 12-13, #20; BIB# 35681
All About Glass = Garasu Daihyakka (1993) p. 43; BIB# 36566
Glass Capturing the Dance of Light (1993) illustrated, p. 63;
The Survey of Glass in the World (1992) illustrated, (no. 206), p. 101, 292; BIB# 44518
Things Not to Miss in the Corning Museum of Glass (1991) illustrated, p. 114;
A Short History of Glass (1990 edition) (1990) illustrated, Cover; pp. 38-40, #33; BIB# 33211
Masterpieces of Glass: A World History From The Corning Museum of Glass (1990) illustrated, pp. 72-73, pl. 28; BIB# 33819
Glass Animals: 3,500 Years of Artistry and Design (1988) illustrated, p. 45; BIB# 32200
The New Thrust of Corporate Museums (1986-06) illustrated, p. 42;
The Corning Museum of Glass Annual Report 1985 (1986) illustrated, cover;
Recent Important Acquisitions, 28 (1986) illustrated, cover, frontispiece; BIB# AI17497
Transparent Mystery (1985-12) illustrated, p. 131f;
Early Treasures Crafted in Glass (1985-07-28) illustrated
What the Museum Acquires and Why (Winter '85) (1985) illustrated, cover;
Islamic Art in the United States: The Corning Museum of Glass (1985) p. 70, ill. p. 67;
2,000 Years of Cameo Glass at The Corning Museum (1982-07) illustrated, p. 57;
Cameo Glass: Masterpieces from 2000 Years of Glassmaking (1982) illustrated, pp. 34-35, 105, #19; BIB# 30609
The Arts of Islam (1976) illustrated, p. 141, #132, col. pl. p. 54; BIB# 20991