Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

Ashmolean − Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

Islamic Ceramics

A select catalogue of the Ashmolean's collection of ceramics from the Islamic world from the 9th to 18th century, by James Allen (published Oxford, 1991).

Islamic ceramics, by James W. Allan

Publications online: 46 objects

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Bowl with radial design

  • Literature notes

    This bowl is of the truncated conical form with a tall, cylindrical foot, mentioned above (no. 22 [EA1978.2183]). The pigment used for underglaze black has here produced, presumably by accident, a deep brownish colour. As with the figural designs (no. 22 [EA1978.2183]), the Syrian potter preferred a much bolder approach to that of his Persian contemporaries.

    The design on the bowl is made up of stylised and simplified leaf forms, which are paired to form a ‘bracket’ motif. These brackets are arranged in concentric circles in alternating colours, but, as with brick lays, the positions of the brackets are alternated in consecutive bands to provide visual variety and interest.

    The concentric design is balanced by a radial design, painted with a much thinner brush. This radial design is made up of eight lines, with a small heart-shaped panel alternating its position – either at the end of the line or two-thirds of the way along it. The pattern is also subtly reinforced by the positioning of the blue trefoils. The result may look simple, but it provides a brilliant example of how the tensions of a circular and concave bowl shape can be reconciled and harmonised into a totally satisfying unity. Contrast the design of the bowl below [EA1978.2193], in which the centrifugal tendency has been allowed to take over, and the viewer is left completely disconcerted.
  • Details

    Associated place
    Asia Syria (place of creation)
    Date
    13th century (1201 - 1300)
    Material and technique
    fritware, with underglaze painting in blue and brown-black
    Dimensions
    11 cm (height)
    at mouth 23 cm (diameter)
    21.4 cm (diameter)
    at foot 7.6 cm (diameter)
    Material index
    Technique index
    Object type index
    No. of items
    1
    Credit line
    Gift of Gerald Reitlinger, 1978.
    Accession no.
    EA1978.2196
  • Further reading

    Allan, James W., Islamic Ceramics, Ashmolean-Christie's Handbooks (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 1991), no. 25 on p. 42, illus. p. 43

    Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 18 July-13 September 1981, and London: Sotheby Parke Bernet, 1981, Eastern Ceramics and Other Works of Art from the Collection of Gerald Reitlinger: Catalogue of the Memorial Exhibition, Deborah Willis, ed. (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum and London: Sotheby Parke Bernet, 1981), no. 365 on p. 126, illus. pp. 126-127

    Porter, Venetia, Medieval Syrian Pottery (Raqqa Ware) (Oxford: Asmolean Museum, 1981), illus. p. 18 pl. IX

    Jenkins-Madina, Marilyn, Raqqa Revisited: Ceramics of Ayyubid Syria (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art and New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006), cat. W 125, p. 104

Glossary (2)

fritware, underglaze painting

  • fritware

    Ceramic material composed of ground quartz and small quantities of clay and finely ground frit (frit is obtained by pouring molten glass into water).

  • underglaze painting

    Painting applied to ceramic material before a transparent, or monochrome or coloured glaze for Islamic objects, is applied. The technique was initially developed in China.

Location

    • currently in research collection

Objects are sometimes moved to a different location. Our object location data is usually updated on a monthly basis. Contact the Jameel Study Centre if you are planning to visit the museum to see a particular object on display, or would like to arrange an appointment to see an object in our reserve collections.

 

Publications online

  • Islamic ceramics, by James W. Allan

    Islamic Ceramics

    This bowl is of the truncated conical form with a tall, cylindrical foot, mentioned above (no. 22 [EA1978.2183]). The pigment used for underglaze black has here produced, presumably by accident, a deep brownish colour. As with the figural designs (no. 22 [EA1978.2183]), the Syrian potter preferred a much bolder approach to that of his Persian contemporaries.

    The design on the bowl is made up of stylised and simplified leaf forms, which are paired to form a ‘bracket’ motif. These brackets are arranged in concentric circles in alternating colours, but, as with brick lays, the positions of the brackets are alternated in consecutive bands to provide visual variety and interest.

    The concentric design is balanced by a radial design, painted with a much thinner brush. This radial design is made up of eight lines, with a small heart-shaped panel alternating its position – either at the end of the line or two-thirds of the way along it. The pattern is also subtly reinforced by the positioning of the blue trefoils. The result may look simple, but it provides a brilliant example of how the tensions of a circular and concave bowl shape can be reconciled and harmonised into a totally satisfying unity. Contrast the design of the bowl below [EA1978.2193], in which the centrifugal tendency has been allowed to take over, and the viewer is left completely disconcerted.
Notice

Object information may not accurately reflect the actual contents of the original publication, since our online objects contain current information held in our collections database. Click on 'buy this publication' to purchase printed versions of our online publications, where available, or contact the Jameel Study Centre to arrange access to books on our collections that are now out of print.

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