Historical period(s)
Abbasid period, 9th century
Bowl; earthenware painted over glaze.
H x W x D: 5.7 x 20.8 x 20.8 cm (2 1/4 x 8 3/16 x 8 3/16 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Ceramic, Vessel


Abbasid period (750 - 1258), earthenware, Iraq, Islam, kufic script, WWII-era provenance

Cohen collection, Paris, 1950s [1]

From 1995 to 2000
Momtaz Islamic Art, London, from 1995 [2]

From 2000
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Momtaz Islamic Art in 2000


[1] According to Curatorial Note 4, Massumeh Farhad, February 28, 2000, in the object record.

[2] See note 1.

Previous Owner(s)

Momtaz Islamic Art


Among the earliest surviving works of art decorated with writing are a group of ceramic vessels, produced in Iraq and Iran under the rule of the powerful Abbasid dynasty (749–1258). Inspired by the whiteness and purity of the much admired, imported Chinese porcelain, Muslim potters created their own "white ware" by covering their buff-colored earthenware vessels with a glaze containing a small amount of lead and tin, which turns opaque when fired. Unlike the Chinese models, most of the Abbasid vessels were embellished with a variety of motifs, including calligraphic designs. This bowl combines both vegetal motifs and calligraphic design in cobalt and copper glazes. Surrounded by windswept palmettes, the inscription in the center confers blessings to the owner.

Published References
  • Islamic Art at the Ashmolean. Oxford Studies in Islamic Art. pp. 125-26.
Collection Area(s)
Arts of the Islamic World
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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