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made in Mesopotamia, present-day Iraq

Postcard of Bowl.
© National Museums Scotland


This earthenware bowl was made in Mesopotamia (in present-day Iraq) in the 9th or 10th century.

The fine earthenware body was covered with a lead glaze, made opaque with tin-oxide. The decoration was painted into the glaze and the vessel fired. The end result made the decoration stand out against an opaque white background. Here, the decoration is rendered in cobalt blue with green detailing. In the centre, the stylised Kufic inscription reads 'Muhammad, Muhammad'.

This type of ware was first developed in Iraq during the early 9th century, initially in imitation of the elegant Chinese stonewares that by that time had begun to increasingly reach the Muslim world from the East. The addition of colour and calligraphy soon gave these wares a new, distinctly Middle Eastern and Islamic flavour.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-180-001-250-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.1971.686
Date: 9th century AD
9th or 10th century
Material: Buff earthenware. Inscription: Muhammad, Muhammad (Kufic inscription)
Who: Muhammad (Inscription)
Where: Mesopotamia
Middle East, Iraq
Description: Circular bowl of buff earthenware with a white tin oxide lead glaze painted in cobalt blue and copper green, with a Kufic inscription: Mesopotamia, 9th century AD
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