Name of Object:

Bowl with golden-brown metallic glaze


Tunis, Tunisia

Holding Museum:

Sidi Qasim al-Jalizi Museum

Date of Object:

Hegira, 7th–8th centuries / AD 13th–14th centuries

Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Glazed ceramic.


Height 9.5 cm, diameter 21 cm

Period / Dynasty:





This deep bowl with round base and curved sides is decorated with scrolls of foliage and stems with palm leaves. They interweave exuberantly, revealing a bunch of grapes. Clearly defined rings divide the decoration into concentric areas, but the overall effect is one of unity and uninterrupted movement, enhanced by the harmony of the golden-brown motifs against the cream background. The space is well-covered but not overloaded.
The formula for producing ceramics with a golden glaze has been roughly described since the AH 6th / AD 12th century. Red ochre (iron oxide or almazzaron) is added to a precisely measured mixture of copper and silver. This mixture is then diluted with vinegar. The golden-glazed ceramics which spread throughout al-Andalus from the AH 7th–8th / AD 13th–14th centuries were in vogue in Egypt at the same time. Both floral and animal decorations were used. The discovery of this bowl of al-Andalus origin in Tunis has highlighted the importance of the trade established from the AH 7th / AD 13th century between Ifriqiya and Muslim Spain.

View Short Description

This is a typical example of the golden-glazed ceramics that spread through al-Andalus and Egypt from the AH 7th / AD 13th century, combining floral and zoomorphic motifs. The discovery of this dish of Andalusian origin in Tunis underlines the importance of trade between Ifriqiya and Muslim Spain.

How date and origin were established:

This piece was discovered in a cistern during the digs at the Kasbah in Tunis in the early 1980s. It was found buried next to other Hafsid plates and bowls dating from the 7th and 8th / 13th and 14th centuries in a tank containing 270 pieces.

How Object was obtained:

After its discovery at the Kasbah excavations, this bowl was kept in Tunis at the National Patrimony Institute at Dar ibn Khaldun and then was selected for display at the Sidi Qasim al-Jalizi Museum in 1978.

How provenance was established:

Its Andalusian origin was established by comparison with other pieces. The workshops of al-Andalus were indeed producing similar bowls during the 7th and 8th / 13thand 14th centuries.

Citation of this web page:

Mourad Rammah "Bowl with golden-brown metallic glaze" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2018.;ISL;tn;Mus01_C;23;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 35


Related monuments

 Artistic Introduction

 Timeline for this item

On display in


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