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 Fund
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
de Unger, Edmund (Hungarian, 1918-2011), Former Collection
Primary Description: 
Ewer, "The Corning Ewer". 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.
Dining with the Sultan: The Fine Art of Feasting
Los Angeles County Museum of Art 2024-02-04 through 2024-05-26
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston 2024-06-30 through 2024-09-15
Detroit Institute of Arts 2024-11-10 through 2025-02-02
Dining with the Sultan is a pan-Islamic exhibition spanning the eighth through nineteenth centuries and including some 200 works of art representing a rich variety of media from three continents. Our goal is to correlate the objects, many of them rare works of art, with the sourcing, preparation, serving and consumption of food. We expect this to be a transformative exhibition, one emphasizing our shared humanity rather than our singular histories. Following the model of LACMA’s 2011 exhibition Gifts of the Sultan: The Arts of Giving at the Islamic Courts, it similarly will introduce our audiences to Islamic art and culture with objects of undisputed quality and appeal, only this time viewed through the universal lens of fine dining. In considering the admittedly very substantial and diffuse theme of feasting at the Islamic courts, we have cast as wide a net as possible in terms of both the time frame and the concept of “fine dining.” The resources that inform this study are two-fold: 1) Works of art that can be identified from their inscriptions or specific shapes as containers and receptacles for food or beverage, or are associated with preparing and serving food, or else those works that are similar to examples described by the written sources, as well as works of art, primarily manuscript illustrations, which depict food preparation and dining. 2) Rich textual sources, including a broad array of cookbooks and books of delicacies, texts on etiquette, instructions for princes, royal memoirs, collections of food poetry and parody, dynastic histories, endowment deeds, kitchen accounts, dietetic and medicinal works, travelers’ narratives, and diplomatic reports and communiqués. Clearly it is the first category that primarily will provide the visual focus of the exhibition, while the second will supply the documentary framework as conveyed through didactic materials and especially the exhibition catalogue. The sheer quantity of primary sources and the large number of relevant first-rate works of art together indicate the importance of gourmet gastronomy to Islamic courtly culture. On a popular level, the exhibition will stimulate not only the eyes but the appetite, reminding visitors of the commonly shared pleasure of food—both its taste and its presentation; it also will promote greater inter-cultural understanding and empathy by introducing American museum visitors to Islamic art through a practice shared and prized by all cultures—the act of coming together to partake of a meal. On a scholarly level, and drawing upon recent research in food and foodways, the exhibition will provide much needed information on the enormous class of luxury objects that may be broadly defined as tableware, while also demonstrating how gustatory discernment was a fundamental activity at the great Islamic courts.
Glass of the Sultans
Benaki Museum
Corning Museum of Glass
Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Arts of Islam
Hayward Gallery 1976 through 1976
Raptor On the Fist: Falconry, Its Imagery and Similar Motifs Throughout the Millenia On a Global Scale (2020) pv. 2, p. 619 (fig. 8);
Ancient and Islamic Glass: Selections from the Corning Museum of Glass (2019) illustrated, pp. 108-109;
The Decanter: Ancient to Modern (2018) illustrated, p. 68 (fig. 1);
Contemporary Glass Vessels: Selections from the Corning Museum of Glass (2015) illustrated, p. 18 (fig. 20); BIB# 149403
Escort Guide to the Galleries (2013) illustrated, p. 14, bottom; BIB# 134015
Celebrating David Whitehouse (2013) illustrated, p. 6, second from left; BIB# AI93999
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 illustrated encyclopedia of glass (2011) illustrated, p. 128; BIB# 128671
The Corning Ewer (family) (2011)BIB# 131530
Corning Museum of Glass 60 Years (2011) illustrated, p. 12, bottom right; BIB# 138760
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
Glass, Knocking at the Door of Art (2010) illustrated, p. 29; BIB# 115616
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
Jurors' Choice (2007) illustrated, p. 81; BIB# AI75161
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; BIB# AI53342
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;
Museums Magazines (2001) illustrated, p. 3; BIB# 101700
Fustat Glass of the Early Islamic Period (2001) illustrated, pp. 296-300, #522; BIB# 75800
The Encyclopedia of Glass (2001) p. 113; BIB# 69319
Glass of the Sultans (2001) illustrated, p. 184, #90; BIB# 68105
On Exhibit: Glass of the Sultans, Islamic Artistry (2001) illustrated, p. 56 top; BIB# AI52052
Heart of Glass (2001) illustrated, p. 5 (top); BIB# AI98823
Glass of the Sultans (2001) illustrated, p. 105, top;
Glass in the Islamic World (2001) illustrated, [p. 4, bottom];
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
Glass Capturing the Dance of Light (1993) illustrated, p. 63; BIB# AI30595
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
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; BIB# AI30136
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; BIB# AI96384
Recent Important Acquisitions, 28 (1986) illustrated, cover, frontispiece; BIB# AI17497
Transparent Mystery (1985-12) illustrated, p. 131f; BIB# AI15372
Early Treasures Crafted in Glass (1985-07-28) illustrated
What the Museum Acquires and Why (Winter '85) (1985) illustrated, cover; BIB# AI15292
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; BIB# AI9264
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