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
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Alkaline glaze: a glaze fluxed with alkali e.g. soda or potash.

Earthenware: a ceramic body made from clay maturing at c. 850-1200 C.

Flux: a substance which determines melting and fusion point of a glaze e.g. lead oxide.

Frit: a pulverised, insoluble glass formed by the fusion (or fritting) of the various materials being used.

Glaze: vitreous (glassy) coating applied to the surface of a pot to make it impermeable or for decorative effect.

Kufic: geometric form of Arabic script.

Lead glaze: a glaze fluxed with lead oxide.

Lustre: a metallic sheen on the surface of a glaze used for its decorative effect (see no. 3 [EA1956.66].

Maiolica: tin-glazed earthenware in the tradition of the Italian Renaissance.

Minai ware: pottery decorated in overglaze colours (see nos. 13-14 [EAX.3102 & EA1956.36]).

Porcelain: a ceramic body made of felspathic clay maturing at c. 1350-1400 C.

Sgraffito ware: ceramics decorated with incised designs under the glaze (see no. 5 [EA1978.1759]).

Slip: a semi-fluid coloured clay used either for coating a pot or decorating it before glazing.

Stone-paste: an artificial ceramic body made, according to the medieval Persian potter Abu'l-Qasim Kashani, from ten parts of ground quartz, one part of ground glass (alkaline) frit and one part of fine white clay. The stone-paste body of sixteenth century Iznik pottery also contained lead-rich frit.

Stoneware: a ceramic body made from clay, harder and heavier that earthenware, maturing at c. 1200-1300 C.

Tin glaze: a glaze (lead- or alkaline-fluxed) opacified with tin oxide.


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