Name of Object:

Glazed bowl


Mértola, Beja, Portugal

Holding Museum:

Museum of Mértola

About Museum of Mértola, Mértola.

Date of Object:

Hejira 6th century / AD 12th century

Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Glazed ceramic made with porous pink straw and paste mix, modelled on a wheel, fired in an oxidising atmosphere and decorated with the cuerda seca technique throughout.


Height 8 cm, diameter (of mouth) 25.5cm, diameter (of base) 10.6 cm

Period / Dynasty:

Almoravid or Almohad


Almería or Málaga (Spain).


Glazed bowl with bevelled rounded rim, circular mouth, semi-oval body with gentle carination towards the bottom and convex base with a diagonal foot-ring. The exterior of the piece is glazed in honey-coloured monochrome, while the interior is decorated entirely using the cuerda seca technique in which the white, green and honey colours of the glaze are separated by lines of manganese. The central ornamental theme, enclosed in a circle, consists of a deer or antelope in a static pose, with its head raised in an alert posture, ready to flee. Indeterminate plant motifs fill the empty spaces, and seem to suggest the landscape around the animal. Around this, on the wall of the bowl, the composition is completed with a frieze of palmettes made by finger impressions. The object has been restored.

View Short Description

Bowl made entirely using cuerda seca. The central motif of the piece, enclosed by a circle, is a deer or antelope in a static pose with its head raised, alert and preparing to flee. The empty space is filled with plant motifs, which represent the landscape around the animal.

How date and origin were established:

The stratigraphic context in which the object was found was very disordered, which led to its being dated to the 6th / 12th century on the basis of comparison with objects of similar form and decorative technique from Málaga and Almería.

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 abundance of this type of ceramic in Málaga and Almería (Spain), where kilns have been found in which they were made, has led researchers to attribute its production to these localities.

Selected bibliography:

Gómez Martínez, S., A Cerâmica em Corda Seca de Mértola, Mértola, 2002.
Torres, C., “Um Lote Cerâmico da Mértola Islâmica”, in I Congreso de Arqueología Medieval Española. Huesca, 1985, vol. IV, Saragossa, 1986, pp.193–228.
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;11;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 14


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