Bowl with Bird and Inscription Design

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Bowl with bird and inscription design 11th century, Iraq, Syria, or Egypt Luster-painted ceramic Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, 29964

Bowl with bird and inscription design


Bowl with bird and inscription design


The iridescence of the luster-painted designs on this ceramic bowl was achieved through a double-firing technique. The second firing is necessary to create the lustrous, light-reflective effect of the bird and inscription band. Luster-painted ceramics were popular in Egypt and the Levant during the medieval period. Many surviving vessels and sherds display a variety of designs, including animals and zodiac signs as well as Arabic inscriptions and pseudo-inscriptions. The metallic sheen produced from luster painting on ceramic mimics metalwork inlaid with gold, thereby achieving a similar effect in a more affordable medium.

Bibliography: Grube 1976, 126–154, cat. nos. 82–100; Jenkins 1983, 5, 14, and 24; Pancaroğlu 2007, 49–63, cat. nos. 9, 10, and 20; Bloom 2007, 93–96; Watson 2004, 279–281; and Contadini 1998, 71–84, pls. 34–37.

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