The glassmakers of the Islamic Mediterranean and Iranian regions inherited a rich tradition of techniques and types from their forebears that they were to take in new directions in the mediaeval period.

In Iran the cutting of glass on abrasive wheels continued uninterrupted from the Sasanian period until the 11th century CE. Large numbers of blown glass vessels survive from the earliest period up to the 15th century CE; many of these were blown into metal or ceramic moulds to produce elegant shapes with integral surface decoration.

From the 13th century the glass makers of Syria and Egypt developed a new technique for painting on plain glass vessels. This new type of glass decoration was initially used to produce figural scenes; later a robust calligraphic style was developed, where the entire surface decoration of the likes of mosque lamps and vases is dominated by prominent inscriptions, often further embellished with surface gilding, a style that had never before been seen in glass.

View some of our glass collection below.