Name of Object:

Vertical-sided bowl


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:

2643/ 3323

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Ceramic painted with metallic lustre and cobalt-blue.


Height 7 cm, diameter 18.3 cm

Period / Dynasty:





The decoration of the bowl, which is limited to the outside, consists of a large inscription in kufic characters with strokes finished with an apex and certain letters finished with volutes, all contained between two solid lustre bands. The main inscription is superimposed by four letters in cobalt-blue. Although very contemporary, the meaning of the inscription is related to the baraka lisahibihi type, ‘blessed be the holder’.
It is relevant to note that decoration consisting of purely epigraphic motifs is quite rare in Mesopotamian lustre-ware, and thus it can reasonably be assumed that this piece was influenced by ceramics from the Samanid period in Khurasan and Transoxania (AH 4th–5th / 9th–10th centuries), to which significant production of non-lustre-ware china, decorated only with epigraphic motifs, is attributable.

View Short Description

This bowl is practically unique in its shape and decoration, with pieces decorated exclusively with calligraphy being rare in the early years of the Abbasid era.

How date and origin were established:

From stylistic analysis. The decoration is clearly influenced by ceramics from the Samanid period in Khurasan and Transoxania (4th–5th / 9th–10th centuries).

How Object was obtained:


How provenance was established:

The simplicity of the piece is characteristic of objects from Samarra.

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.

Citation of this web page:

Paola Torre "Vertical-sided bowl" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2020.;ISL;it;Mus01;22;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 23


 Artistic Introduction

 Timeline for this item

Islamic Dynasties / Period


On display in

Discover Islamic Art Exhibition(s)

The Abbasids | Abbasid Ceramics

MWNF Galleries

Calligraphy Ceramics


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