Frieze (fragment)

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made in Iraq

Postcard of Frieze (fragment).
© National Museums Scotland

Frieze (fragment)

This is a fragment of a circular, unglazed ceramic frieze, probably from a large vessel, was made in Iraq in the 12th or 13th century.

The putty-coloured earthenware fragment is decorated in relief with four figures sitting crosslegged in oriental costume on a scroll background. Two of the figures, all of whom wear long pleats of hair, hold glasses to their chest. Of the other two, seated in between, one holds two identical objects (perhaps fish) in his raised hands, while the second one holds an unidentified object to his chest. This figure alone is flanked by a bowl of flowers and a ewer on either side.

Unglazed pottery has always been produced in Iraq as elsewhere in the Muslim world. If decorated, it could be simply incised or adorned with moulded or applique motifs. The decoration could also be rendered as a kind of openwork, as is the case here. Further research is needed to identify the scene depicted here, but it is likely that it comes from a courtly context.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-180-001-256-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.L.319.1
Date: 12th - 13th century AD
12th or 13th century
Material: Putty-coloured earthenware
Dimensions: 7.00" H x 13.00" L
What: Frieze / fragment
Where: Middle East, Iraq
Description: Fragment of a circular frieze in putty-coloured earthenware, decorated with four squatting figures in oriental costume on a scroll background in relief: Iraq, 12th - 13th century AD
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