Name of Object:

Water pot


Mértola, Beja, Portugal

Holding Museum:

Museum of Mértola

About Museum of Mértola, Mértola.

Date of Object:

Hegira second half of 6th or early 7th century / AD second half of 12th or early 13th century

Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Ceramic made from compact greyish straw and paste mix, and made using a combination of coil technique for the lower part and thrown on a wheel for the upper part. It has a stamped decoration and is partially glazed.


Height 70.5 cm, width 59 cm, diameter (of mouth) 28 cm

Period / Dynasty:





Water pot with everted rim with quadrangular lip, circular mouth, neck in the shape of an inverted truncated cone, globular body with two wing-form handles with an upper protuberance on the shoulder and a convex base. The neck and body are covered in a green glaze and profusely decorated with finger and nail impressions, and stamped with protective signs based on plants (rosettes, palmettes), calligraphic and architectural motifs (horseshoe and trefoil arches). The object has been restored.

View Short Description

Almohad pitcher used to store water. The care taken to protect the content of the pitcher is evident from the profusion of prophylactic symbols stamped on it. It includes plant (rosettes and palmettes), calligraphic and architectural (horseshoe and trilobed arches) motifs.

How date and origin were established:

It was dated to the Almohad period on the basis of stratigraphy, since it was found in the abandoned levels of one of the Almohad houses vacated after the Christian conquest of Mértola in AH 635–36 / AD 1238. This dating has been confirmed by comparison with similar decorative features on a water jar from Tetuan (Morocco) with an inscription dating it to AH 585 / AD 1190.

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:

Stamps used to decorate this type of water jar have been found in Mértola.

Selected bibliography:

Gómez Martínez, S., “Catálogo da Cerâmica”, in Museu de Mértola. Arte Islâmica, ed. S. Macias, Mértola, 2001, p.163.
Torres, C. and Macias, S. (eds.), O Portugal Islâmico, Lisbon, 1998, p.150.

Citation of this web page:

Susana Gómez Martínez "Water pot" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2018.;ISL;pt;Mus01;12;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 15


 Artistic Introduction

 Timeline for this item

Islamic Dynasties / Period


On display in

Discover Islamic Art Exhibition(s)

The Muslim West | Settlements and Domestic Life


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