Glass mug with enamel painting (polo player on horseback), Glass and stained glass: Syria, around 1300. Colorless glass, enamel, silver, gilded. Height 19.9 cm; Diameter of vessel rim 11.2 cm; Dm foot 10.2 cm. Green Vault, IV 193. © Dresden State Art Collections.

Almost throughout the Middle Ages, the southern Mediterranean region dominated by Islam was culturally far superior to the West. This is also evidenced by this masterpiece with enamel painting, created in the heyday of the Syrian glass industry around 1300. The cylindrical drinking cup shape with auslandendem edge and fused ring base is typical of the Islamic Middle Ages. Such glass cups adorned with colorful enamel paintings were not created for the rich courtyards of the luxury cities of Samara, Baghdad and Cairo alone; the fragile treasures also came to Europe as "souvenirs" of crusaders and high-ranking pilgrims or were virtually imported via Venice. This path could also have led to Europe for this glass mug, who received his present North European version with ornate silver rings and lids only in the 15th or early 16th century. The far older glass body conveys in its figurative jewelry the aristocratic feeling of life of the rulers of the Orient. On the wall three riders gallop between golden, ornamental-looking inscription friezes. They play the chivalrous Persian polo. In the long sleeve-necked down to his knees, wide trousers and a large turban, the colorfully dressed polo players ride on white, yellow and red horses. An Arabic inscription enclosing this image strip praises the glory of a sultan named unnamed at the top in old Naskhi script and at the bottom with the same text in italics.