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made in Iran

Postcard of Bowl.
© National Museums Scotland


This bowl was made in Iran, probably some time between the 12th and 13th centuries. Its body is made of a small quantity of fine white clay mixed with ground quartz and ground clear glass. The resulting ware is called fritware. When fired, the body material became hard and dense, and if potted thinly enough, nearly translucent. Because of the whiteness of the body, the colours of the glaze and surface decoration used on this ware give a brilliant effect. The bowl was moulded, perhaps in several sections, and so were the human masks applied to each of its eight sections.

The exterior of the bowl is divided into eight compartments separated by vertical ribs. Between each pair of ribs is a human mask in relief. The bowl is covered with an opaque turquoise glaze that stops short of the foot. Overglaze panels outlined in red pigment and filled with gold leaf surround the masks and individual motifs made up from three lozenges, treated in the same way, flank the masks on either side.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-180-001-241-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0504: National Museums Scotland Part 2
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  A.1927.76
Date: 12th or 13th century
Early 13th century AD
Material: Drab earthenware
Dimensions: 2.50" H x 6.00" D
Subject: Ceramics
Where: Middle East, Persia, Rhages / Shahr Rey
Description: Deep bowl of drab earthenware with a plain turquoise glaze terminating short of the foot rim, and the exterior decorated with human masks in relief, and broken and repaired: Persia, Rhages, early 13th
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