Name of Object:

Bowl with horseman


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 6th–7th / AD 12th–13th centuries

Museum Inventory Number:

5974/ 6741

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Glazed ceramic (mina'i)


Height 9.2 cm, diameter 21.8 cm

Period / Dynasty:





The main decoration of the bowl consists of a large figure of a horseman, whose face clearly shows some Mongol features, on a background filled with plant shoots in relief.
The decoration is characterised by a particularly delicate and elegant design painted in polychrome, with each colour requiring a separate firing.
This piece belongs to a type known as mina’i’, in Persian ‘haftrang’(‘seven colours’). This technique effectively uses seven colours (red, blue, green, yellow, gold, white and black) applied on top of the glaze and occasionally, as in this case, with some details worked in relief and gilded.

View Short Description

This piece belongs to a type of ceramic known as mina’i, recognisable through the use of seven colours in its decoration. In antiquity, the main centre of production for mina’i ceramics was Kashan in central northern Iran.

How Object was obtained:


How provenance was established:

Mina’i ceramics were mainly produced in Kashan (central northern Iran) and in all probability would have been made by the illuminators of the manuscripts produced at that time that were lost with the Mongol invasion of 1220. Consequently, they are an important historical document for the study of illuminations of that time.

Selected bibliography:

Allan, J.W. , “‘Abûl Qâsim’s Treatise on Ceramics”, Iran XI, 1973, pp.111–20.
Fèhervari, G., La Ceramica Islamica, Milan, 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.

Citation of this web page:

Paola Torre "Bowl with horseman" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2023.;ISL;it;Mus01;29;en

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

MWNF Working Number: IT 38