Name of Object:



Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom

Holding Museum:

Burrell Collection, Glasgow Museums

About Burrell Collection, Glasgow Museums, Glasgow

Date of Object:

Hegira late 4th–early 5th century / AD late 10th–early 11th century

Museum Inventory Number:

BC 33.119

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Glazed and lustre-painted earthenware.


Height 20.3 cm, width 21.5 cm

Period / Dynasty:





A jar with tiered decoration consisting of four bands: two with a chain of leafs, one with a row of five running hares and another with a row of calligraphy. The calligraphy consists of a repetition of the word Baraka, meaning blessings or bounty. The use of words or phrases that blessed the owner or user on the one hand, while acknowledging God's bounty in being able to posses such items and their contents on the other, was common on Islamic ceramics of the time. The row of running hares shows two of the five looking backwards, while the other three run facing forwards. All the hares wear a studded collar-band.

Towards the end of the AH 4th century / AD 10th century the Egyptian potters began to use lustre-painted decoration on their pots. They seem to have learned the technique from Iraqi potters who had migrated to Egypt; they in turn had first learned to paint-in-lustre from the glassmakers of Syria and Egypt during the AH 3rd century / AD 9th century.

View Short Description

The expensive lustre-painted decorative technique on this Fatimid Egyptian ceramic jar came from Iraqi with potters migrating to Fustat. Its typical Fatimid decoration and calligraphic band of script also find their origin in the decorative style developed originally in the Abbasid city of Samarra in Iraq.

How date and origin were established:

Artistic analysis: the style of the hares and the band of kufic script resemble those on other ceramic objects and fragments found in Fustat that have been attributed to the Fatimid period in Egypt.

How Object was obtained:

Part of the collection given to the City of Glasgow by Sir William and Lady Burrell in 1944.

Selected bibliography:

Grube, E. J., Islamic Pottery of the Eighth to the Fifteenth Century in the Keir Collection, London, 1976.

Raby, J., (ed), Cobalt and Lustre: The First Centuries of Islamic Pottery, the Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art, Oxford, 1994.

Citation of this web page:

Noorah Al-Gailani "Jar" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2018.;ISL;uk;Mus04;2;en

Prepared by: Noorah Al-GailaniNoorah Al-Gailani

Noorah Al-Gailani is Curator for Islamic Civilisations at Glasgow Museums, Scotland. With a BA in Interior Design from the College of Fine Arts, Baghdad University and three years' experience in design and folk art preservation, she moved to the UK in 1992. On completing her MA in Museum Studies at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London in 1994, she worked as Project Officer at the Grange Museum of Community History documenting the presence of Muslim communities in the London Borough of Brent. In 1995 she was Assistant Curator, Ancient Monuments Laboratory, English Heritage, and in 1996 became Curator for John Wesley's House and the Museum of Methodism in London. She co-authored The Islamic Year: Surahs, Stories and Celebrations (Stroud: Hawthorn Press, 2002) for non-Muslim children. Since 2003 she has been based at The Burrell Collection in Glasgow, working across the city's museums to interpret Islamic art and culture, ancient and modern, through research, exhibitions and educational activities.

Copyedited by: Mandi Gomez

MWNF Working Number: UK4 07


 Artistic Introduction

 Timeline for this item

Islamic Dynasties / Period


On display in

MWNF Galleries

Calligraphy Ceramics


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