Name of Object:

Bowl with radial decoration


Rome, Italy

Holding Museum:

Museum of Civilisations | Museum of Oriental Art “Giuseppe Tucci”

 About Museum of Civilisations | Museum of Oriental Art “Giuseppe Tucci”, Rome

Date of Object:

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

Museum Inventory Number:

رقم تخزيني 201

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Glazed ceramic.


Height 6 cm, diameter 19.8 cm

Period / Dynasty:





This piece, the shape of which is taken from contemporary Chinese porcelain from the T’ang period (AD 618–906), is decorated with blue cobalt paint with a large motif in the shape of stylised petals. In the background there is a star-shaped polygon, the points of which are hatched. In the centre there is a motif known as ‘Solomon’s Seal’, an extremely common decorative element in Islamic art.
The bowl, decorated in a simple but pleasing style, could be considered typical of Mesopotamian pieces painted in blue cobalt only on a creamy white base. This type is of particular interest as it represents one of the oldest examples in the Islamic world of an imitation of the much-valued Chinese porcelain that was sent in significant quantities to Egypt and Iraq by sea and to Persia by land via the Silk Route.
The imitation porcelain was produced using a heavy lead-oxide glaze to which was added tin oxide as an opacifier. The result is a consistent creamy white layer decorated with blue cobalt in an Islamic style.

View Short Description

This piece is particularly noteworthy for its decoration inspired by Chinese porcelain from the T’ang period, evidence of contact and trade between China and countries such as Egypt, Persia and Iraq along the Silk Route.

How date and origin were established:

Dating has been suggested on the basis of type (see description for analysis).

How Object was obtained:

Private deposit.

How provenance was established:

It should be seen as a typical example of Mesopotamian pieces painted only in cobalt blue on a creamy white base.

Selected bibliography:

Fèhervari, G., La Ceramica Islamica, Milano, 1985.
Folsach, K. von, Islamic Art: The David Collection, Copenhagen, 1990.
Grube, E.J., Cobalt and Lustre. The First Centuries of Islamic Pottery. The Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art, Vol. IX, London, 1994.
Lane, A., Early Islamic Pottery, London, 1953.
Scerrato, U., “Ceramica Irachena del IX–X Secolo”, Serie Schede Museo Nazionale d’Arte Orientale 2, Rome, 1968.

Citation of this web page:

Paola Torre "Bowl with radial decoration" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2020.;ISL;it;Mus01;17;en

Prepared by: Paola Torre
Copyedited by: Pier Paolo Racioppi
Translation by: Laurence Nunny
Translation copyedited by: Monica Allen

MWNF Working Number: IT 17