Saturday, October 17, 2009

Iraq, Abbasid Dynasty Bowl

11. Iraq, Abbasid dynasty, 9th c. Bowl. earthenware, painted in-glaze. 5.7 x 20.8 x 20.8 cm. (Freer Gallery)
Among the earliest surviving works of art decorated with writing are a group of ceramic vessels, produced in Iraq and Iran under the rule of the powerful Abbasid dynasty (749–1258). Inspired by the whiteness and purity of the much admired, imported Chinese porcelain, Muslim potters created their own "white ware" by covering their buff-colored earthenware vessels with a glaze containing a small amount of lead and tin, which turns opaque when fired. This bowl combines both vegetal motifs and calligraphic design in cobalt and copper glazes. Surrounded by windswept palmettes, the inscription in the center confers blessings to the owner. (Freer)

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