Name of Object:

Cup with rubab player


Rome, Italy

Holding Museum:

Museum of Civilisations | Museum of Oriental Art “Giuseppe Tucci”

About Museum of Civilisations | Museum of Oriental Art “Giuseppe Tucci”, Rome

Date of Object:

Hegira 4th century / AD 10th century

Museum Inventory Number:

رقم تخزيني 190

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Metallic lustre-painted ceramic.


Height 6.8 cm, diameter 23.5 cm

Period / Dynasty:





The cup is decorated in the centre with a figure playing a rubab, a traditional Iranian stringed instrument. The background is filled with dotted panels and the edge is decorated with semi-circles.
The rubab-player motif, shown here seated as was the custom among nomads, appears frequently in Islamic art and seems, like the figure of the drinker, to evoke court scenes in celebration of the life of the sovereign. The musician, depicted in a style similar to that used in figurative Nishapur ceramics from the same period, is wearing characteristic headgear that was common among Turco-Mongolian people in Central Asia.

View Short Description

This piece is decorated with, among other things, a male figure playing a stringed instrument, the rubab. The figure of the musician is common in Islamic art and, like the figure of the drinker, appears to evoke the splendour of court life.

How Object was obtained:

Private deposit.

How provenance was established:

Many of the decorative elements, such as the dotted panels that make up the background, are typical of Iraqi ceramics of the 4th / 10th century.

Selected bibliography:

Lane, A., Early Islamic Pottery, London, 1953.
Philon, H., Early Islamic Ceramics, London, 1980.
Scerrato, U., “Ceramica Irachena del IX–X Secolo”, Serie Schede Museo Nazionale d’Arte Orientale 2, Rome, 1968.
Torre P., “Techniques Journeying from East to West at the Time of the Crusades” in Crusades: Myth and Realities, Nicosia, 2004.

Citation of this web page:

Paola Torre "Cup with rubab player" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2020.;ISL;it;Mus01;19;en

Prepared by: Paola TorrePaola Torre

Responsabile del Dipartimento di Archeologia e Arte Islamica e del Servizio Educativo presso il Museo Nazionale d'Arte Orientale “Giuseppe Tucci” di Roma.
Laureata in Arte islamica, ha svolto per anni attività di docenza presso l'Istituto Universitario Orientale di Napoli ed è autrice di numerose pubblicazioni e studi scientifici riguardanti soprattutto la ceramica del mondo islamico, con particolare riferimento alla produzione dipinta a lustro metallico, dalla Mesopotamia alla Spagna.

Copyedited by: Pier Paolo RacioppiPier Paolo Racioppi

Laureato e specializzato in storia dell'arte presso l'Università di Roma “La Sapienza” sta conseguendo il dottorato di ricerca in Storia e conservazione dell'oggetto d'arte e d'architettura presso l'Università di Roma TRE. Ha svolto attività seminariali presso l'Istituto di Storia dell'Arte all'Università La Sapienza di Roma e attualmente è docente di storia dell'arte del Rinascimento presso la IES at Luiss (Roma).
Ha pubblicato diversi contributi sulla tutela artistica, il collezionismo e le accademie d'arte, ed ha collaborato al Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani dell'Enciclopedia Treccani.

Translation by: Laurence Nunny
Translation copyedited by: Monica Allen

MWNF Working Number: IT 20


 Artistic Introduction

 Timeline for this item

Islamic Dynasties / Period


On display in

Discover Islamic Art Exhibition(s)

The Abbasids | Abbasid Ceramics

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