Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

Ashmolean − Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

Islamic Ceramics trail

Explore over one thousand years of development in Islamic ceramics through our extensive collection.

Detail from bowl with seated figures by a stream, Iran, probably Kashan, 1211-1212 (Museum number: EA1956.33)

Collection trails: 54 objects

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Storage jar

  • Description

    The rise of Islam was accompanied by a major expansion in manufacturing and trade. Thousands of jars such as this one were produced for storing and transporting goods, like date honey. They were essentially functional objects, and it was almost certainly the content of the jars, rather than the jars themselves, that was valued in this trade.

    This example is particularly impressive because of its size and aesthetic appeal. Being 77 cm tall, it would have been thrown in two sections and joined in the middle. It was made in Iraq in the 8th to 9th century. This kind of glazed ware predates Islam, and illustrates the simple, functional foundation upon which more inventive and creative glazing techniques were developed across the Islamic world.

    Fragments of this type of jar have been found around the Persian Gulf, down the East African coast, around the coast of India and South-East Asia, and as far as China and Japan. Only a few dozen have survived intact.

  • Details

    Associated place
    Asia Iraq (place of creation)
    AsiaIraq Basra (probable place of creation)
    8th - 9th century AD (AD 701 - 900)
    Material and technique
    earthenware, with applied decoration under a turquoise glaze
    77 cm (height)
    Material index
    Technique index
    coveredcoated glazed,
    Object type index
    No. of items
    Credit line
    Purchased with the assistance of the Miller Bequest, 2005.
    Accession no.
  • Further reading

    Fukai, Shinji, Ceramics of Ancient Persia, trans. Edna B. Crawford, photographs by Bin Takahashi (New York: Weatherhill and Kyoto: Tankosha, 1981), cat. p. 108

Glossary (2)

earthenware, glaze

  • earthenware

    Ceramic material made of clay which is fired to a temperature of c.1000-1200⁰c. The resulting ceramic is non-vitreous and varies in colour from dark red to yellow.

  • glaze

    Vitreous coating applied to the surface of a ceramic to make it impermeable or for decorative effect.


    • First floor | Room 31 | Islamic Middle East

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Collection trails

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