Name of Object:

Large jar with relief decoration


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 2nd / AD 8th century

Museum Inventory Number:

12749/ 14333

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Glazed ceramic.


Height 44 cm, diameter 39 cm

Period / Dynasty:





The egg-shaped jar, with three small handles, is covered entirely with a heavy dark-green glaze, which is common in Sassanid ceramic production.
The decoration is based on a series of concentric circles in relief finished off in the middle with a motif of a stylised bunch of grapes, which is related to a widespread tradition of symbolic figures. Below the brim there is a geometric motif in relief made up of small rhombuses, and the lower part of the body is decorated with apex motifs.
The shape, decoration and technique used in the piece are evidence of the stylistic continuity between the late Sassanid and the early Islamic periods. The jar was probably intended to store foodstuffs.

View Short Description

Sassanid influences are clearly recognisable in the shape, decoration and production technique of this jar, which was probably used to store foodstuffs.

How date and origin were established:

Through stylistic analysis. The shape and decoration of the jar, the technique used and the dark green glaze are all typical of Sassanid ceramics.

How Object was obtained:


How provenance was established:

Similar examples were common in Persia and Iraq, countries in which they were in use until the 3rd / 9th century.

Selected bibliography:

Erdmann, K., Die Kunst Irans zur Zeit der Sasaniden, Magonz, 1969.
Fèhervari, G., La Ceramica Islamica, Milan, 1985.
Grube, E.J., Cobalt and Lustre. The First Centuries of Islamic Pottery. The Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art, Vol. IX, London, 1994.
Lane, A., Early Islamic Pottery, London, 1953.
Torre, P., Le Mille e una Notte: Ceramiche Persiane, Turche e Ispano-Moresche, Faenza, 1990.

Citation of this web page:

Paola Torre "Large jar with relief decoration" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2018.;ISL;it;Mus01;27;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 33


 Artistic Introduction

 Timeline for this item

Islamic Dynasties / Period


On display in

MWNF Galleries



As PDF (including images) As Word (text only)