The Alhambra Vase

The Alhambra Vase in the Nationalmuseum collection was part of the so-called Prague booty of 1648 when the Swedes occupied Prague at the end of the Thirty Years War.

An Alhambra vase is egg-shaped, stands between one and one and half meters high and has a pointed, grooved base which is meant to be screwed into a foot. It was used for carrying water. The neck is slender and ribbed, flared at the top. The shoulder is egg-shaped, the vessel should have two wings vertical handles, but only for decoration.The Nationalmuseum vase has one wing missing, and instead a bronze dragon has been fitted, and round the neck of the vase, there is a trailingplant decoration of gilt bronze, rather like a necklace. This adornment, a combination of repair and facelift, was done in Sweden in the mid-18th century, probably to a design by the architect Carl Hårleman, who was First Surveyor to the royal household. The vase is painted overall in gold lustre, with coppergreen patches. The decoration is entirely geometrical. It is divided into sections by belts of stylised Arabic characters and an endless, crochetlike trailing pattern. As a result, the decoration reminds one of the patterning of Moorish silk fabrics. Take an extra look at the neck, because there the details are much easier to see.

Picture: The Alhambra Vase

The Alhambra Vase


Nationalmuseum Design
@ Kulturhuset Stadsteatern
Sergels torg, Stockholm 

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