Name of Object:

Lustre bowl


Berlin, Germany

Holding Museum:

Museum of Islamic Art at the Pergamon Museum

About Museum of Islamic Art at the Pergamon Museum, Berlin

Original Owner:

W. von Bode, F. Sarre

Date of Object:

Hegira mid-8th century / AD mid-14th century

Museum Inventory Number:

I. 4181

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Ceramic with lustre painting.


Height 8.5 cm, diameter 23 cm

Period / Dynasty:



Malaga, Spain.


The inner surface of the bowl is decorated with two patterns: symmetrical arabesques and bands of intertwining kufic calligraphy. Both motifs are framed within eight separate boxes, and the two patterns alternate with each other. Both are painted in golden brown lustre over a white glaze. The surrounding space is covered in dots or small entwining scrolls. The outer surface is decorated with hastily painted flutings and a braided band, over a light blue glaze. The bowl is one of the most important examples of Nasrid ceramics given its display of painstaking paintwork and the fact that the place where it was made is noted on its ring-base.

View Short Description

The technique of lustre-ware pottery was introduced to al-Andalus from Egypt and outstanding quality was soon attained. This bowl with a design of geometrical and vegetal panels has an inscription on the foot stating that it was made in the Spanish city of Malaga.

How date and origin were established:

The production of lustre-ware in Andalusia began in the 6th / 12th century. In 750 / 1350, the Arab chronicler Ibn Battuta noted the production of ceramics in his writings on Malaga. This bowl is the only intact item by which the source may be verified. Overall the decoration also corresponds to other branches of the arts and crafts of that period, an example being the decorative patterns used in textiles.

How Object was obtained:

A gift donated by Friedrich Sarre. The bowl was bought in 1901 in Italy by W. v. Bode and was given to Sarre as a gift, which he later donated to the museum.

How provenance was established:

There is an inscription in cursive Arabic script on the bowl’s base stating that it was made in Malaqa (Málaga). Thus the bowl acts as an important marker for the identification and dating of the entire collection of Spanish lustre-ware from the same period.

Selected bibliography:

Islamische Keramik, Catalogue, Düsseldorf, 1973, no. 470.
Martin, F. R. and Sarre, F. (eds.), Die Ausstellung von Meisterwerken Muhammedanischer Kunst München 1910, Munich, 1912, Vol. 2, no. 1610, pl. 117.
Museum für Islamische Kunst Berlin, Catalogue, Berlin, 1973–9, no. 342.
Sarre, F., “Die Spanisch-Maurischen Lüsterfayencen und ihre Herstellung in Malaga”, Jahrbuch der Preußischen Kunstsammlungen 24, 1903, 103–30.
Schätze der Alhambra: Islamische Kunst aus Andalusien, Catalogue, Berlin, 1995, no. 122.

Citation of this web page:

Annette Hagedorn "Lustre bowl" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2024.;ISL;de;Mus01;18;en

Prepared by: Annette Hagedorn
Translation by: Maria Vlotides, Brigitte Finkbeiner
Translation copyedited by: Monica Allen

MWNF Working Number: GE 24


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