Name of Object:

Ring-shaped flask


Raqqada, Tunisia

Holding Museum:

Museum of Islamic Art

About Museum of Islamic Art, Raqqada.

Date of Object:

Hegira, second half of the 3rd century / AD 9th century

Museum Inventory Number:

C 40

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Lightly glazed terracotta.


Height 27.5 cm, diameter 14.5 cm

Period / Dynasty:



Raqqada or Kairouan.


This is a particularly fine piece of ceramic art. Thinly coated with tin-based glaze, it has no slip coating. Simple, elegant and harmonious, its beauty lies in its absence of decoration and in the finesse of its shape. From a disc-shaped base rises a hollow ring which becomes slightly broader at its upper part. A long, cylindrical neck, with two buttress–like supports, has four circles incised around the top. A handle is attached at the base of the neck.

View Short Description

Despite the absence of decoration, the elegant shape and the harmony and simplicity of its component parts make this piece a real work of art, with its beauty found in the sparseness of its structure. The flask has a round, flat base below a slightly inflated ring topped with a long cylindrical neck.

How date and origin were established:

Raqqada, the Aghlabid capital, was built in 263 / 876 by the Aghlabid prince Ibrahim II. Since the flask was discovered on the excavation site, this date must be a terminus ante quem. Moreover, the constituent shapes of the piece (base, neck …) are characteristic of the Aghlabid period, which means that we can date the piece from the 3rd / 9th century. Both its shape and decoration suggest it was a local production, from the Kairouan or Raqqada workshops.

How Object was obtained:

The flask was among objects discovered on site during the 1960 excavations at Raqqada. It was acquired by the Great mosque at Kairouan in 1964 and transferred in 1986 to the Museum of Islamic Art at Raqqada.

How provenance was established:

An archaeological find among a group of other pieces of Aghlabid pottery.

Selected bibliography:

30 ans au service du patrimoine (exhibition catalogue), 1986, p.256.
Tunisie, terre de rencontres et de civilisation (Seville exhibition catalogue), Tunis,
1992, p.277.
Daoulatli, A., Poteries et ceramiques tunisiennes, Tunis, 1979, pp.26–7, fig. 7.
Ifriqiya: Thirteen Centuries of Art and Architecture in Tunisia, pp.174–5.

Citation of this web page:

Mourad Rammah "Ring-shaped flask" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2018.;ISL;tn;Mus01;20;en

Prepared by: Mourad RammahMourad Rammah

Né en 1953 à Kairouan, docteur en archéologie islamique, Mourad Rammah est le conservateur de la médina de Kairouan. Lauréat du prix Agha Khan d'architecture, il publie divers articles sur l'histoire de l'archéologie médiévale islamique en Tunisie et participe à différentes expositions sur l'architecture islamique. De 1982 à 1994, il est en charge du département de muséographie du Centre des arts et des civilisations islamiques. Mourad Rammah est également directeur du Centre des manuscrits de Kairouan.

Copyedited by: Margot Cortez
Translation by: David Ash
Translation copyedited by: Mandi Gomez

MWNF Working Number: TN 31


 Artistic Introduction

 Timeline for this item

Islamic Dynasties / Period


On display in

Discover Islamic Art Exhibition(s)

The Abbasids | Abbasid Ceramics


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