Name of Object:

Pear-shaped bottle


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 7th–8th / AD 13th–14th centuries

Museum Inventory Number:

1977/ 2156

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Glazed ceramic (lajvardina technique)


Height 35 cm

Period / Dynasty:





This piece is distinguished by its fine decoration painted in white, red and black with gold leafing on a blue background (lajvard in Persian, ‘lapis lazuli’) consisting of tiny stylised spiral motifs, large gold-leaf poly-lobed medallions and geometric decoration.
Unlike mina’i ceramics, the decoration on lajvardina ceramics is mostly non-figurative and is characterised by the presence of floral, calligraphy and geometric motifs. This type of ceramic was used to produce elegant long-neck vases, polygon-sided recipients, cylindrical containers and diamond- or cross-shaped tiles.

View Short Description

This bottle is recognisable as an example of the type known as ‘lajvardina’ by its white, red and black paint with gold leaf on a blue base. This latter gives the style its name, as lajvard mean lapis lazuli in Persian.

How date and origin were established:

Lajvardina work has been dated using the famous treatise of the techniques of Islamic ceramicists written by Abûl Qâsim of Kashan in 1301. By that time, the mina’i ceramic technique was no longer in use, with Kashan ceramicists appearing to prefer the lajvardina technique. Production of these ceramics must therefore have started before 1301, as suggested by archeological finds at Takht-i Sulayman in northwest Persia from the excavations recently carried out in the Palace of Abaka-Khan (1265–81).

How Object was obtained:


Selected bibliography:

Allan, J.W., “ ‘Abûl Qâsim’s Treatise on Ceramics”, Iran XI, 1973, pp.111–20.
Fèhervari, G., La Ceramica Islamica, Milan, 1985.
Folsach, K. von, Islamic Art: The David Collection, Copenhagen, 1990.
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 "Pear-shaped bottle" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2018.;ISL;it;Mus01;31;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 42


 Artistic Introduction

 Timeline for this item

Islamic Dynasties / Period


On display in

MWNF Galleries



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