Name of Object:

Glazed bowl


Mértola, Beja, Portugal

Holding Museum:

Museum of Mértola

About Museum of Mértola, Mértola.

Date of Object:

Hegira second half of 5th century / AD second half of 11th century

Museum Inventory Number:

CR/VM /0001

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Glazed ceramic made with coarse-grained straw and paste mix, modelled on a wheel, fired in an oxidising atmosphere and decorated in green and purple.


Height 13 cm, maximum diameter 39 cm, diameter (of base) 13.6 cm

Period / Dynasty:



Kairouan, Tunisia (?).


Glazed bowl with everted rim with small horizontal edge, circular mouth, hemispherical body and convex base with vertical foot-ring. The exterior is coated in an almost transparent whitish glaze. The interior is decorated with a polychrome glaze in white, green, purple and yellow, with an unusual schematic figurative style. The central motif consists of a lively hunting scene in which a hound and a bird (perhaps a hawk or eagle) are simultaneously attacking a gazelle. The bird carries in its mouth a spiral-shaped object which may be a snake or a branch. The rim has a scalloped pattern of black arcs filled with green glaze.
When it was in use, the object was repaired with clamps. There are also holes in the base which were probably used for hanging the bowl on the wall. The object has been restored.

View Short Description

Bowl depicting a hunting scene in which a greyhound and a falcon attack a gazelle. There is a spiral-shaped object in the bird’s mouth. This piece, dated to the second half of the AH 5th / AD 11th century, is similar to others from the western Mediterranean and was imported from Kairouan (Tunisia).

How date and origin were established:

The stratigraphic context in which the object was found was very disordered, which led to its being dated by comparison with objects of similar form from Qal'a Banu Hammad (Algeria), Tunis and Kairouan (Tunisia), Denia and Cartagena (Spain), and Pisa (Italy).

How Object was obtained:

Found in the archaeological excavations carried out by the Campo Arqueológico de Mértola in the citadel of the Castle of Mértola.

How provenance was established:

The provenance of this type of ceramic is currently disputed. The abundance of objects with this decorative style in Kairouan has led researchers to attribute it to this origin, but analyses of pastes carried out on the objects from Mértola and Pisa contradict this theory and suggest that they may in fact come from the south of the Iberian Peninsula.

Selected bibliography:

Gómez Martínez, S., “Catálogo da Cerâmica”, in Museu de Mértola. Arte Islâmica, ed. S. Macias, Mértola, 2001, pp.108–9.
Gómez Martínez, S., “La Cerámica de Verde y Morado de Mértola”, Arqueologia Medieval, no. 3, 1994, pp. 113–32.
Gómez Martínez, S., “Producciones Cerámicas en la Mértola Islámica”, in Actes du VIIeme Congrès International sur la Céramique Médiévale en Méditerranée. Thessaloniki, 11–16 Octobre 1999, Athens, 2003, pp.653–8.
Torres, C. and Gómez, S., "Le Vert et Brun au Portugal", in Le Vert et le Brun de Kairouan à Avignon: Céramiques du Xe au XVe Siècle,exhibition catalogue, Marseilles, 1995, pp.98–102.
Torres, C. and Macias, S. (eds.), O Portugal Islâmico, Lisbon, 1998, p.100.

Citation of this web page:

Susana Gómez Martínez "Glazed bowl" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2018.;ISL;pt;Mus01;10;en

Prepared by: Susana Gómez MartínezSusana Gómez Martínez

Susana Gómez Martínez é historiadora e arqueóloga especializada no período medieval. Estudou Geografia e História na Universidade Complutense de Madrid onde se doutorou em Historia com uma tese intitulada “Cerámica islámica de Mértola. Producción y comercio” (no prelo). É investigadora do Campo Arqueológico de Mértola desde 1993. Autora de várias publicações, de entre as quais se destacam “Cerâmica em Corda Seca de Mértola” (Mértola, Campo Arqueológico de Mértola, 2002); Cerámica Islámica de Medinaceli, in "Boletín de Arqueología Medieval", n.º 9, pp. 123-182, Madrid, Asociación Española de Arqueología Medieval, 1996). É membro do comité científico do Itinerário/exposição “Terras da Moura Encantada” (Lisboa, PICT e Museu sem Fronteiras, 1999) e do Comité Científico da Association International pour l'étude de la Céramique Médiévale en Méditerranée (AIECM2).

Translation by: Gilla Evans
Translation copyedited by: Monica Allen

MWNF Working Number: PT 13


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