Weekly Auctions of Exceptional Items
0 selections
Log In
0 selections
lots of lots
Lot 0097
Ancient Near East, Islamic, ca. 6th to 12th century CE. A special example of a glass vessel form that has been understudied - an alembic, funneled cup, or cupping glass - presenting a deep-hemispheric body with a rolled rim and a long stem handle, all comprised of translucent glass. The name alembic is derived from the Arabic word al-anbiq (to still) and the Greek word ambix (cup). Scholars have suggested three uses for alembics - medical, chemical, or feeding. Given their small size, the ancients could more easily feed their babies small doses of medicine or food. In addition, according to an Arabic source of medical literature entitled "al-Tasrif" by Abu al-Qasim al-Zahrawi (936-1030), cupping vessels like this example were sometimes used to suction air from a patient's body. In addition, alembics are believed to have been used in the distillation process in order to create perfume or for magical alchemy. Size: 6.25" L (15.9 cm) from handle to cup edge; cup measures 1.75" in diameter (4.4 cm)

Source: For more about this intriguing form, read the following article entitled, "Searching for the Original Use of a Mysterious Glass Vessel" by Barbara Venezia (a former intern of the Department of Islamic Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art) August 24, 2016 - https://www.metmuseum.org/blogs/ruminations/2016/alembics

Provenance: private Davis collection, Houston, Texas, USA; ex-Gerhard Hirsch Nachfolger Auction 277-278, Munich, Germany, lot 513

All items legal to buy/sell under U.S. Statute covering cultural patrimony Code 2600, CHAPTER 14, and are guaranteed to be as described or your money back.

A Certificate of Authenticity will accompany all winning bids.

We ship worldwide to most countries and handle all shipping in-house for your convenience.



Loss to tip of handle. Handle reattached, showing surrounding break line and radiating fissures. Earth deposits on interior.

Starting Bid


Buyer's Premium

  • 24.5%

Ancient Islamic Glass Alembic for Medical Cupping

Auction ended on Thu, May 10, 2018
Estimate $800 - $1,200
|Sell a Similar Item
Internet Bid
Competing Bid
Internet Bid
Competing Bid
Internet Bid
Starting Bid
Interested in this item?Save to 'Saved Items' to access later.
686 S. Taylor Avenue Suite 106
Louisville, CO 80027
United States
Ask a Question|