Tile with Gold-sandwich Decoration

  • Syria
  • 9th - 12th centuries
  • Glass, gold
  • H-8.8 W-9
Catalogue Entry

Triangular shaped flakes of gold were sandwiched between two layers of brownish semi-translucent glass, and then fired to form a tile. The surface of the glass shows a detailed, regular pattern that appears to have been transferred to the surface by having had a cloth or other material pressed into it. Numerous bubbles were captured in the glass above the gold flakes and the iridescence has worked its way into the glass from the surrounding edge. A reddish earth-like material has adhered to the back surface of the glass. This work is said to have been excavated at the area near Aleppo in Syria, and there is a possibility that this tile would have been used as architectural decoration.

Catalogue Entry

Tile with Gold-sandwich Decoration
Syria, 9th-12th centuries
Glass, gold
Miho Museum, Shiga
Gold leaf has been laid on the top of thick brown glass, and a thin transparent colorless glass has been applied to the top, sandwiching the gold between the glass layers. This type of glass is alternately known as gold sandwich glass. These tiles are said to have been discovered in a church in northern Syria. Similar examples are scattered amongst collections throughout the world. Triangular and square pieces of gold foil were placed on top of an approximately 8 millimeter thick piece of brown glass and then covered with a less than one millimeter thick piece of glass. The back surface has a reddish brown clay-like adhesion, and the iridescence from surrounding glass has spread to the area between the two layers of glass.