Name of Object:

Ceramic bowl


Mértola, Beja, Portugal

Holding Museum:

Museum of Mértola

About Museum of Mértola, Mértola.

Date of Object:

Hegira 6th century / AD 12th century

Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Glazed ceramic made from coarse-grained paste, modelled on a wheel, fired in an oxidising atmosphere and decorated using the cuerda seca technique throughout.


Height 8 cm, diameter (of mouth) 25 cm, diameter (of base) 10.3 cm

Period / Dynasty:

Almoravid or Almohad


Almería or Málaga, Spain.


Glazed bowl with vertical rounded rim, circular mouth, body shaped as inverted truncated cone with low carination and base with diagonal foot-ring. Covered with honey-coloured monochrome glaze and decorated in cuerda seca with white, green and honey colours separated by lines of manganese. The central theme is the word 'baraka' written in kufic characters, surrounded by a frieze of palmette leaves which runs around the rim of the bowl. The object has been restored.

View Short Description

Bowl decorated entirely using cuerda seca from the Almoravid or Almohad periods. The central motif is the word ‘baraka’ written in kufic characters and surrounded by a frieze of palmettes that runs around the brim of the bowl. Similar pieces have been found around the western Mediterranean.

How date and origin were established:

The stratigraphic context in which the object was found was very disordered, which led to its being dated to the 6th / 12th century by comparison with objects of similar form, decorative technique and theme, in particular from Almería and Málaga.

How Object was obtained:

Found in the archaeological excavations carried out by the Campo Arqueológico de Mértola in the citadel of the Castle of Mértola.

How provenance was established:

The abundance of this type of ceramic in Málaga, in which very similar calligraphy is found, and Almería (Spain) where kilns have been found in which objects with this type of decoration were made, has led researchers to attribute its production to these localities.

Selected bibliography:

Gómez Martínez, S., A Cerâmica em Corda Seca de Mértola, Mértola, 2002.
Torres, C. and Gómez, S., “Le Vert et Brun au Portugal”, in Le Vert et le Brun de Kairouan à Avignon: Céramiques du Xe au XVe Siècle,exhibition catalogue, Marseilles, 1995, pp.98–102.
Torres, C., “Um Lote Cerâmico da Mértola Islâmica”, in I Congreso de Arqueología Medieval Española. Huesca, 1985, vol. IV, Saragossa, 1986, pp.193–228.
Torres, C. and Macias, S. (eds.), O Portugal Islâmico, Lisbon, 1998, p.93.

Citation of this web page:

Susana Gómez Martínez "Ceramic bowl" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2024.;ISL;pt;Mus01;6;en

Prepared by: Susana Gómez MartínezSusana Gómez Martínez

Susana Gómez Martínez é historiadora e arqueóloga especializada no período medieval. Estudou Geografia e História na Universidade Complutense de Madrid onde se doutorou em Historia com uma tese intitulada “Cerámica islámica de Mértola. Producción y comercio” (no prelo). É investigadora do Campo Arqueológico de Mértola desde 1993. Autora de várias publicações, de entre as quais se destacam “Cerâmica em Corda Seca de Mértola” (Mértola, Campo Arqueológico de Mértola, 2002); Cerámica Islámica de Medinaceli, in "Boletín de Arqueología Medieval", n.º 9, pp. 123-182, Madrid, Asociación Española de Arqueología Medieval, 1996). É membro do comité científico do Itinerário/exposição “Terras da Moura Encantada” (Lisboa, PICT e Museu sem Fronteiras, 1999) e do Comité Científico da Association International pour l'étude de la Céramique Médiévale en Méditerranée (AIECM2).

Translation by: Gilla Evans
Translation copyedited by: Monica Allen

MWNF Working Number: PT 09


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Arabic Calligraphy | Kufic Script


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