Name of Object:



London, England, United Kingdom

Holding Museum:

The British Museum

About The British Museum, London

Date of Object:

Hegira 7th / AD 13th century

Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Stone-paste ceramic painted with brown, blue, green and red underglaze.


Height 4.1 cm, diameter 8.5 cm

Period / Dynasty:





A stone-paste ceramic bowl painted in brown, blue, green and red underglaze. Technically, the colourful decoration of a horseman imitates a type of Iranian ceramic known as mina‘i ware, ‘mina‘i’ meaning literally enamelled, a technique in which some of the colours were painted over the glaze and then fixed by firing. The Syrian potters were influenced by developments in Iran but lacked the technical knowledge of working with enamels on ceramics. They therefore imitated the style. This bowl mimics the type of design employed on minai wares with underglaze painting in similar bright colours to enamel. There is an illegible inscription on the underside of the bowl.

View Short Description

The colourful decoration of the horseman on this ceramic bowl imitates a type of ceramic that originated in Iran. Enamelled ceramics, or mina'i ware, were exported from Iran to Syria, where potters imitated the style using underglaze painting rather than enamels.

How date and origin were established:

Bowls of this style were probably created in the 7th / 13th century, soon after minai wares began to be produced in Iran.

How Object was obtained:

Acquired through the National Art Collections Fund in 1912.

How provenance was established:

Syria was the obvious recipient of mina'i wares from neighbouring Iran.

Citation of this web page:

Emily Shovelton "Bowl" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2020.;ISL;uk;Mus01;49;en

Prepared by: Emily ShoveltonEmily Shovelton

Emily Shovelton is a historian of Islamic art. She studied history of art at Edinburgh University before completing an MA in Islamic and Indian art at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London. Since graduating she has worked on a number of projects at the British Museum. Other recent work includes editing and writing for a digital database of architectural photographs at the British Library. She is currently working on a Ph.D. on “Sultanate Painting in 15th-century India and its relationship to Persian, Mamluk and Indian Painting”, to be completed at SOAS in 2006. A paper on Sultanate painting given at the Conference of European Association of South Asian Archaeologists, held in the British Museum in July 2005, is due to be published next year.

Copyedited by: Mandi GomezMandi Gomez

Amanda Gomez is a freelance copy-editor and proofreader working in London. She studied Art History and Literature at Essex University (1986–89) and received her MA (Area Studies Africa: Art, Literature, African Thought) from SOAS in 1990. She worked as an editorial assistant for the independent publisher Bellew Publishing (1991–94) and studied at Bookhouse and the London College of Printing on day release. She was publications officer at the Museum of London until 2000 and then took a role at Art Books International, where she worked on projects for independent publishers and arts institutions that included MWNF’s English-language editions of the books series Islamic Art in the Mediterranean. She was part of the editorial team for further MWNF iterations: Discover Islamic Art in the Mediterranean Virtual Museum and the illustrated volume Discover Islamic Art in the Mediterranean.

True to its ethos of connecting people through the arts, MWNF has provided Amanda with valuable opportunities for discovery and learning, increased her editorial experience, and connected her with publishers and institutions all over the world. More recently, the projects she has worked on include MWNF’s Sharing History Virtual Museum and Exhibition series, Vitra Design Museum’s Victor Papanek and Objects of Desire, and Haus der Kulturen der Welt’s online publication 2 or 3 Tigers and its volume Race, Nation, Class.

MWNF Working Number: UK1 68


 Artistic Introduction

 Timeline for this item

Islamic Dynasties / Period


On display in

Discover Islamic Art Exhibition(s)

The Atabegs and Ayyubids | Travelling and Trading

MWNF Galleries



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