Name of Object:



Mértola, Beja, Portugal

Holding Museum:

Museum of Mértola

About Museum of Mértola, Mértola.

Date of Object:

Hegira 6th century / AD 12th century

Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Ceramic made from porous pink paste, modelled on a wheel, fired in an oxidising atmosphere and decorated using the partial cuerda seca technique.


Height 34.8 cm, width 32 cm, diameter (of mouth) 17.8 cm, diameter (of base) 13.4 cm

Period / Dynasty:

Almoravid or Almohad


Almería or Málaga, Spain.


Vase with vertical bevelled rim, circular mouth, cylindrical neck, globular body, with two grooved strap handles with a pinnacle-shaped protuberance at the top which join the neck and belly of the vessel, and a convex base with diagonal foot-ring. It shows remnants of the base of a filter between the neck and body. The exterior is decorated using the partial cuerda seca technique, in which only some parts of the design are filled with green or greenish honey-coloured glaze and others with dotted lines. The decoration is divided into six successive horizontal bands of plant, wavy and calligraphic motifs. On the rim is a narrow border of schematic palmettes. Most of the neck is occupied by a wide band with large lotus flowers, and below this is a frieze of tooth-shaped motifs. On the shoulder is a calligraphic ornamental border in which the word 'baraka' is repeated several times in florid kufic script and, on the belly, a band of phytomorphic medallions. Next to the base is a frieze of palmette leaves. The object has been restored.

View Short Description

Almoravid or Almohad pot decorated in part using cuerda seca. The decoration is arranged into six successive horizontal bands with plant, undulating and calligraphic motifs. The lotus-flower motifs and the band inscribed with the word ‘baraka’ in flowery kufic script are particularly noteworthy.

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, decorative technique and theme, in particular from Almería and Málaga.

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 in which they were made have been found, 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. and Macias, S. (eds.), O Portugal Islâmico, Lisbon, 1998, p.89.

Citation of this web page:

Susana Gómez Martínez "Vase" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2020.;ISL;pt;Mus01;7;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 10


 Artistic Introduction

 Timeline for this item

Islamic Dynasties / Period



On display in


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