Name of Object:

Lidded bowl


Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom

Holding Museum:

National Museums of Scotland (NMS)

About National Museums of Scotland (NMS), Edinburgh

Date of Object:

Hegira 10th century / AD late 16th century

Museum Inventory Number:

A. 1884.44.26 & A

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Stone-paste (fritware), blue, green, black and bole-red underglaze, over which a clear glaze.


Height 15.24 cm, diameter 20.3 cm

Period / Dynasty:



Iznik, Turkey.


A squat, elliptically shaped, lidded bowl of stone-paste (fritware) with a flattened domical lid topped by a gilded copper-alloy finial. A blue, red and green rosette enhances the base of the finial; the pattern on the lid itself then opens out from the base of the finial where, from leafy stems, four mythical, blue, serrated saz leaves with red centres sprout, moving in an anti-clockwise direction, their stems crossing. In between the saz leaves, there are four floral pairs, each consisting of a blue lily and a red-orange hyacinth. These also emerge from leafy stems, sinuously crossing over each other.
The edge of the rim is decorated by a scalloped border of white on blue, a black dot in the centre of each scallop. The upper edge of the body receives a guilloche border rendered in red and green. Below, nine blue tulips with red dotted detailing flow around the bowl in a clockwise direction, giving the impression of a horizontally disposed garland, although they all rise in fact from the base. A second band below the tulips is composed of carnations, this time flowing in an anti-clockwise direction, their stems again springing from the baseline below. The well of the bowl receives a decorative roundel defined by three linear borders. It contains five flower sprays with red and blue petals. Six abstract motifs in blue fill the remaining spaces.
The shape of this bowl recalls Iranian metal and ceramic bowls dating to the AH 7th / AD 13th century and also appears among the tableware of the Italian courts during the 15th century (as seen, for example, in an engraving by Mantegna where an attendant serves at table during a card game). In Ottoman court culture lidded bowls such as this were produced in gilt copper (tombak), and occurred as an integral part of the tableware used to serve food at mealtimes.

View Short Description

In Ottoman court culture lidded bowls like this one were produced in gilt copper (tombak) as well as pottery and occurred as an integral part of the crockery used to serve food at mealtimes. Its style of decoration places it among other floral Iznik wares dated to the AH 10th / AD late 16th century.

How date and origin were established:

The decorative style of this lidded bowl places it among a group of floral Iznik wares dated to the 10th / late 16th century.

How Object was obtained:

Bought from the Castellani Collection in 1884.

How provenance was established:

This type of ceramic ware is known to have been produced in Iznik during the 10th / late 16th century.

Selected bibliography:

Atasoy, N., and Raby, J., Iznik: The Pottery of Ottoman Turkey, London, 1989, figs. 559, 678, 742.
Carswell, J., Iznik Pottery, London, 1998, p.82, fig. 61.
Scarce, J., Domestic Culture in the Middle East: An Exploration of the Household Interior, Edinburgh, 1996, p.60.
Türkische Kunst und Kultur aus osmanischer Zeit, exhibition catalogue, Recklinghausen, 1985, p.144, cat. no. 2/13.

Citation of this web page:

Ulrike Al-Khamis "Lidded bowl" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2024.;ISL;uk;Mus03;30;en

Prepared by: Ulrike Al-KhamisUlrike Al-Khamis

Ulrike Al-Khamis is Principal Curator for the Middle East and South Asia at the National Museums of Scotland in Edinburgh. She began her academic career in Germany before completing her BA (1st class Hons) in Islamic Art and Archaeology at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London in 1987. The same year she moved to Edinburgh, where she completed her Ph.D. thesis on “Early Islamic Bronze and Brass Ewers from the 7th to the 13th Century AD” in 1994. From 1994 to 1999 she worked as Curator of Muslim Art and Culture for Glasgow Museums and, in 1997, was one of the main instigators of the first ever Scottish Festival of Muslim Culture, SALAAM. Since 1999 she has been based at the Royal Museum in Edinburgh, where she has curated several exhibitions and continues to publish aspects of the collections. In addition to her museum work she has contributed regularly to the teaching of the Fine Arts Department at the University of Edinburgh.

Copyedited by: Mandi GomezMandi Gomez

Amanda Gomez is a freelance copy-editor and proofreader working in London. She studied Art History and Literature at Essex University (1986–89) and received her MA (Area Studies Africa: Art, Literature, African Thought) from SOAS in 1990. She worked as an editorial assistant for the independent publisher Bellew Publishing (1991–94) and studied at Bookhouse and the London College of Printing on day release. She was publications officer at the Museum of London until 2000 and then took a role at Art Books International, where she worked on projects for independent publishers and arts institutions that included MWNF’s English-language editions of the books series Islamic Art in the Mediterranean. She was part of the editorial team for further MWNF iterations: Discover Islamic Art in the Mediterranean Virtual Museum and the illustrated volume Discover Islamic Art in the Mediterranean.

True to its ethos of connecting people through the arts, MWNF has provided Amanda with valuable opportunities for discovery and learning, increased her editorial experience, and connected her with publishers and institutions all over the world. More recently, the projects she has worked on include MWNF’s Sharing History Virtual Museum and Exhibition series, Vitra Design Museum’s Victor Papanek and Objects of Desire, and Haus der Kulturen der Welt’s online publication 2 or 3 Tigers and its volume Race, Nation, Class.

MWNF Working Number: UK3 30


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