Two years ago, when I purchased Marlena Fairbourne’s awesome collection of late Persian glass, there were two beautiful globular bottles, and one of them was the only sealed Persian she owned. Stunning pieces of glass, and of a very pure quality.
About a month ago, a third globular (the aqua on the right) showed up on ebay – only it didn’t “show up” for those of us in Canada. If you are in the States and say you will only ship to the States, then it never even shows up as a possibility if your shipping address is in Canada…so I missed it.
A curious set of circumstances led to me finding out about it after the auction, and then, and we all know how seldom this happens – I actually managed to track down the buyer AND work a deal for the bottle. It’s unsealed, but obviously the same glass, the same age, the same everything as the sealed example. So now there are three – and I’m delighted.
As a side note – in my research, there is continuous allusion to the glass of Shiraz versus the glass of Isfahan. The glass of Shiraz was supposedly made from a very white, very pure sand that was found four or five days outside the city, and it was held to be very pure glass. The glass of Isfahan, in comparison, was said to be of an ugly, common nature, being made entirely from cullet, with inclusions.
So I look at the pieces on my shelves, and there are two very clear categories. Almost all – perhaps all – of the transport bottles – the ones I call “Karabas” after what I read in the research – are made of a very bubbly, soft glass. Bottles like these globulars, and including almost all (and perhaps all) of the Saddle Flasks throughout the ages are made of a harder, purer material.
Of course it’s all conjecture – and I have little to no understanding of glass itself (terrible thing to say after 40 years in the hobby) – but I wonder if those of you who know glass better than I might be able to offer any thoughts about whether you can “tell” glass made in poorer furnaces, entirely from cullet? Is it more likely to be soft, light and bubbly, in comparison to glass made in hotter furnaces, from raw materials?
If you want to see the style that I’m attributing more to Isfahan these days, it looks like most of these:
You will also note that the lip finishes on the bottles made of the purer glass are very different from the lip finishes on the bottles made of the softer, lighter glass.
My $0.02 for a Tuesday morning.