Pitcher with Animals and Birds

Object Name: 
Pitcher with Animals and Birds

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Object Name: 
Pitcher with Animals and Birds
Place Made: 
Accession Number: 
Overall H: 17.1 cm, Diam (max): 10.7 cm; Rim H: 17.1 cm, Diam: 8.7 cm
On Display
Credit Line: 
Fragment lent by the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - PreuBischer Kulturbesitz Museum fur Islamische Kunst
Primary Description: 
Translucent deep green over colorless. Blown (body probably blown in dip mold), cased; relief-cut, drilled; handle applied. Pitcher with cylindrical body. Rim plain, with top ground flat and bevel on interior; neck shaped like funnel, with straight, tapering side; shoulder slopes, with rounded edge; wall descends vertically and turns in at bottom; base plain, with low kick; no pontil mark. Handle dropped onto edge of shoulder, drawn up and out, then bent in and attached to top of neck, with folded and pinched thumb-rest, which projects above rim. Most of neck and entire body cased with green glass, which has been cut away to create three registers of ornament in relief: (1) on neck, (2) on shoulder, and (3) on wall. Register on neck is contained within panel that begins and ends behind handle; sides of panel have curved recesses at top, but are straight at bottom; space between them is bisected by vertical line extending from bottom of upper handle attachment to top of lower attachment, or close to it. Panel contains two animals running toward each other. Each animal has short horns, open mouth, body shown in outline, forelegs projecting forward, hind legs projecting backward, and long tail. Register on shoulder is framed at top by pair of continuous horizontal ribs, and at bottom by horizontal row of alternating oval and circular motifs shown in outline. Panel contains two snakes with heads almost touching and tails near lower handle attachment. Each has kite-shaped head with eyes close together, open mouth, and sinuous body shown in outline. Register on wall is continuous; it is framed at top by ovals and circles (see above), and at bottom by identical row of ovals and circles at junction of wall and base. Panel contains two animals running toward each other. Each animal has body and tail shown in outline and cloven hooves; above the back is stem, which divides and terminates in two half-palmettes separated by detached oval leaf with pointed ends. Behind and above each animal is bird shown in profile. Each bird faces in same direction as animal and has body and one wing shown in outline. Behind animals and birds are curvilinear stems and tendrils. Underside of base has two concentric circles (D. 4.3 cm and 6.9 cm). Most edges of raised decoration are vertical or nearly vertical, with very few slanting cuts. Most linear elements are notched; solid green elements, such as heads of animals on neck, head of one snake on shoulder, and heads of birds and halfpalmettes on wall, are hatched. Bodies of birds and quadrupeds, but not snakes, are decorated with small circular depressions made by drilling. Handle has openwork pattern consisting of three connected circular holes with raised borders; on edges of handle, opposite each hole, are shallow projections with slightly concave profiles; thumb-rest was cut in indeterminate design.
Smith, Ray Winfield (American, 1897-1982), Source
Cameo Glass: Masterpieces from 2000 Years of Glassmaking
Corning Museum of Glass 1982-05-01 through 1982-10-31
Cameo glass, one of the most costly and difficult decorating techniques since first century B.C., is documented and illustrated in this catalog. Included are examples from Rome, Islam, and China, as well as English 19th-century masterpieces by John Northwood and George Woodall among others. For the purposes of this catalog, the term “cameo glass” is used to refer to cased glass objects with two or more differently colored layers. The outer layer is usually an opaque or opalescent white, and the outer layer or layers have been carved in to leave the decoration standing in relief against a body of contrasting color. Shading is produced by thinning down the carved layer; highlights are created where the glass is left thickest. Both this catalog, and the exhibition for which it was created, documents the 2000-year cameo glass tradition.
Islamic Glass in the Corning Museum of Glass Volume One (2010) illustrated, pp. 300-302, #523; BIB# 113723
The Corning Museum of Glass Annual Report 2002 (2003) illustrated, p. 5; BIB# AI93609
Early Islamic Cameo Glass in The Corning Museum of Glass (2003) illustrated, p. 150, fig. 3; BIB# AI57285
Chemical Analyses of Early Glasses (Volume 1) (1999) pp. 93, 249; BIB# 61154
The Corning Ewer: A Masterpiece of Islamic Cameo glass (1993) illustrated, p. 51, fig. 6;
The Survey of Glass in the World (1992) illustrated, (no. 200), p. 98, 291; BIB# 44518
Cameo Glass: Masterpieces from 2000 Years of Glassmaking (1982) illustrated, pp. 35, 105-106, #21; BIB# 30609
Islamic Relief Cut Glass: A Suggested Chronology (1961) illustrated, pp. 21-22, 27, figs. 23-24; p. 28; BIB# AI57387