Name of Object:
National Museum of Damascus
Date of Object:
Hegira 6th century / AD 12th century
Museum Inventory Number:
Material(s) / Technique(s):
Height 99 cm, diameter 45.5 cm
Period / Dynasty:
Jazira (the region located between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, hence known as “the island” and currently consisting of northeast modern Syria and northwest Iraq), or Mesopotamia.
A large, unglazed but richly decorated khubb jar used for storing water. It has an oval-shaped body without a base. Most of the body's surface is decorated with a repeating pattern resembling a stylised horned animal head. The cylindrical neck and protruding lip are richly decorated with pierced carving and applied pieces of clay that were attached to the body of the jar after its basic shape was made. These include human forms in profile and in a standing posture amidst allegorical creatures and stylised foliage. A band of Arabic writing in thuluth script divides the ovoid shape of the jar between body and neck. It is possible to translate the text as follows: “[May God grant] power, prosperity, happiness, respect, bliss and advancement.”
View Short Description
This large water-jar with its ovoid shape, pierced carving and moulded figurative attachments is a masterpiece of the pottery industry of Jazira in the AH 5th and 6th / AD 11th and 12th centuries.
How date and origin were established:
The vessel is extremely similar in size, shape, decoration and apparent use to many other pieces produced during the Atabeg and Ayyubid periods (6th / 12th and early 7th / 13th centuries) in the Jazira region.
How Object was obtained:
The jar was found in Veterinarian Street (Jadat al-Bayatira) in the Aqaba Quarter of Damascus, and was purchased by the Museum in 1927.
How provenance was established:
Although this jar was found in Damascus, khubb jars were typically produced in the Jazira area, especially in the cities of Mosul, Sinjar and Tikrit.
Abu al-Faraj al-Ush, M., A Concise Guide to the National Museum of Damascus, Damascus, 1969, pp.227–8.
Citation of this web page:
Mona al-Moadin "Large jar" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2021. http://islamicart.museumwnf.org/database_item.php?id=object;ISL;sy;Mus01;20;en
Prepared by: Mona Al-Moadin