Dating islamic culture
The tiny rock crystal flask in the shape of a fish may originally have held a precious perfume.
It is believed to have been made in Egypt, where rock crystal was used to make precious possessions for the ruling dynasty, the Fatimids (969–1171).
These were sometimes the product of conflict, but more often occurred through diplomacy and trade.
The Islamic side of the Mediterranean was the terminus of ancient trading networks between East and West Asia, and the Muslim states controlled other routes along which precious commodities were carried back and forth.
In fact some types of Turkish carpet are sometimes known after the 16th-century European painters who included them in their paintings, such as Hans Holbein (about 1497–1543) and Lorenzo Lotto (about 1480–1556).
Muhammad was a political leader as well as a religious guide, and after his death in 632, his successors established a vast empire.
In Europe, the main destination for these luxury imports was Italy.
The city republics of Venice, Florence and Genoa controlled maritime trade in the Mediterranean, and their merchants were principally responsible for the movement of Islamic goods around its coasts.
Spain, and to a lesser extent Portugal, was the most important meeting place between the Christian and Muslim worlds of the Mediterranean.
In 711 the armies of Islam conquered the Iberian Peninsula, which now became the westernmost outpost of the Islamic empire.