Sälçük (Seljuk) Cup

Dating

12th century C.E.

Sälçük (Seljuk) Cup

Origin

Sälçük İran (Seljuk Iran)

Materials

Ceramic

Dimensions

12.22 cm

12.22 cm

8.73 cm

Culture

Museum

Acquisition 

ID#

Sälçük (Seljuk)

LACMA

M.2002.1.342

Copyright Status

Public Domain, LACMA

Source of Image

"This footed cup could hold a generous amount of liquid in its bell-shaped body, slightly flaring at the lip. The six-lobed design features molded reliefs of moon-faced visages protruding from each side, providing additional grip to drinkers. Based on surviving examples, the cup’s design enjoyed considerable popularity during the twelfth century, most often in turquoise or blue glaze, the latter seen here.

The general shape of this cup can be found in paintings relating to wine consumption. One example is al-Jazari’s (d. 1206) Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices, where a mechanical wine dispenser includes a cup bearer wielding a flask and gold goblet resembling this cup’s form, sans ornament. Economical plain-glazed cups, like the present work, may have belonged to a slightly humbler diner. Alternatively, the owner may have subscribed to the stringent doctrines taught in works like the Bahr al-Fawa'id (Sea of Precious Virtues, completed 1159-1162). This Persian mirror for princes cautioned readers against drinking from gold and silver cups. During Seljuk rule in Iranian and Anatolian regions, wine could derive not only from grapes, but also pomegranates, dates, honey, and sugar--any of which may have once filled this cup."