Bottle made for the Yemeni Rasulid Sultan al-Malik al-Mujahid ‘Ali ibn Dawud,
Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.

One of my favorite haunts in Washington DC is the Freer Gallery of Art, part of the Smithsonian row. It boasts an extraordinary collection of Islamic art, well worth viewing and reviewing. But why wait until a trip to Washington, unless you are still braving the leftover throngs at the upcoming inaugural? The Freer’s website hosts high-quality images of many of the objects in its collection. As a Yemenophile, one of my favorites is a beautiful glass bottle made for the Yemeni Rasulid sultan al-Malik al-Mujahid ‘Ali ibn Dawud, who reigned from 1322-1363. The bottle was crafted in Syria and is “enameled and gilt colorless honey-tinted glass” (Rosamond E. Mack, Bazaar to Piazza: Islamic Trade and Italian Art, 1300-1600, Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002, p. 118).