Historical period(s)
Abbasid period, 10th century
Earthenware painted over glaze with luster
Lustre ware
H x W x D: 28.2 x 23.2 x 23.2 cm (11 1/8 x 9 1/8 x 9 1/8 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Freer Gallery 03: Engaging the Senses: Art in the Islamic World
Ceramic, Vessel


Abbasid period (750 - 1258), bird, earthenware, Iraq, Lustre ware
Provenance research underway.

The technique of luster-painted ceramic originated in Iraq in the ninth century from where it spread to the rest of the Islamic world and through Muslim Spain and Europe. Early examples from Iraq, such as this remarkable jar, are often decorated with bold, stylized figural imagery.  The identity of this mysterious hooded figure and its relationship to the two birds on the other side, however, remains unclear.

Published References
  • Alan Caiger-Smith. Lustre Pottery: Technique, Tradition and Innovation in Islam and the Western World. pl. 3.
  • Sekai bijutsu zenshu [A Complete Collection of World Art]. 40 vols., Tokyo, 1960-1966. vol. 22: pl. 17.
  • Sandra Toenies Keating. Defending the "People of Truth" in the Early Islamic Period: The Christian Apologies of Abu Raitah. History of Christian-Muslim Relations, vol. 4 Leiden and Boston. cover.
  • Oriental Ceramics: The World's Great Collections. 12 vols., Tokyo. vol. 10, pl. 261.
  • The Encyclopedia of World Art. 17 vols., New York, 1959-1968. vol. 1, pl. 9.
  • Robert J. Charleston. Islamic Pottery. Masterpieces of Western and Near Eastern Ceramics, vol. 4 Tokyo and New York. vol. 4, pl. 10.
  • Alan Caiger-Smith. Lustre Pottery: Technique, Tradition, and Innovation in Islam and the Western World. London and Boston. pl. 3.
  • Richard Ettinghausen. Medieval Near Eastern Ceramics in the Freer Gallery of Art. Washington and Baltimore. pp. 10-11.
  • Dr. Esin Atil. Ceramics from the World of Islam. Exh. cat. Washington, 1973. cat. 4, pp. 20-21.
  • Dr. Esin Atil. Art of the Arab World. Exh. cat. Washington, 1975. cat. 12, pp. 34-35.
  • W. Aubrey Cartwright. Guide to Art Museums in the United States: East Coast, Washington to Miami., 1st ed. New York. p. 45.l.
  • Geza Feherari. Two Early 'Abbasid Lustre Bowls and the Influence of Central Asia. vol. 9, no. 2 London, Summer 1963. p. 84, fig. 12.
  • Richard Ettinghausen, O. Graber. The Art and Architecture of Islam, 650-1250. The Pelican History of Art Hammondsworth, Middlesex, England and New York. p. 115, fig. 96.
  • La Livre du Millenaire d'Avicenne. vol. 4 Tehran. pp. 132-138, fig. 17.
  • Richard Ettinghausen. Islamic Art and Archaeology: Collected Papers. Berlin. pp. 892-913.
Collection Area(s)
Arts of the Islamic World
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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