Watson, Oliver Ceramics from Islamic Lands London: Thames & Hudson, 2004. p.173
Lane, Arthur Early Islamic Pottery - Mesopotamia, Egypt and Persia London: Faber and Faber, 1947. p.3 and 4
White glazed earthenware bowl with underpainting in dark blue
Diameter: 24.5 cm, Height: 7.5 cm
World Ceramics, room 145
White glazed earthenwares appeared for the first time in the late 8th or 9th century. The Abbasid wares from Iraq are the most direct evidence for the impact of Chinese imported porecelain. Basra was one port which greatly benefited from the expansion of maritime trade during the Abbasid period. Large quantities of Chinese whitewares and porcelaneous wares have been found on Abbasid-period sites near the Arabian sea and the Persian gulf.
Historical significance: This bowl is a typical example of an underglazd decorated ware in cobalt blue and closely imitates Chinese porcelain wares in that it has very little decoration. The simplicity of the bowl's painted designs and the harmonious storkes of the brush suggest that it is one of the earlier produced wares. It's deep well, rounded form and flared rim are also strong indicators that the potter intended to closely imitate Chinese whitewares. International trade not only led to a demand for Chinese wares but also led to signifcant advances and experimentation by Islamic potters. In attempting to imitate the appearance of white porcelain Islamic potters in the ninth century achieved the creation of a white surface glaze which is believed to be (Lane) one of the highest achievements in ceramic history.
This earthenware bowl is a sandy grey colour and is painted in very dark blue paint. The bowl has a deep well with curved walls and a rounded flared rim. The bowl has clearly been repaired from many small pieces. The pattern painted on the inside of the bowl is geometric; it comprises of a central tirangle which has a thin border. There is a hexagonal shape painted in the middle of the triangle which further contains a circular shape made up of 6 oval/petal like forms. The three corners of the central triangle (which partly comprise of the border of the hexagon shape) are painted as three further smaller triangles which are filled with a stripe design. Extending out from the corners of these three smaller triangles, three semi lobed/triangular geometric shapes are painted in the same very dark blue paint (almost looks like an abstract standing form with extended wings). The remainder of the well is made up of three further designs which comprise of a thick lobed border in which striped panels, a long rectangular shape and dark painted neck like design are painted.