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

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

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Jar with birds

  • Description

    First seen in ninth-century Iraq, lustreware became popular in Fatimid Egypt (AD 969-1171), the period to which this jar can be attributed. Unlike lands to the east, Egyptian lustreware included naturalistic designs in its decorative repetoir. Animals, real or composite, and birds, were popular motifs, and were often executed with remakable spontaneity. Some of the most sophisticated examples of lustreware were also decorated with fine human representations, including Christian subjects, suggesting a broad market for this type of luxurious ceramics.

  • Details

    Associated place
    Africa Egypt (place of creation)
    11th century (1001 - 1100)
    Material and technique
    earthenware, with painting in lustre over an opaque white glaze
    10.5 cm (height)
    12.5 cm (diameter)
    Material index
    Technique index
    coveredcoated glazed,
    Object type index
    containervessel jar
    No. of items
    Credit line
    Gift of Gerald Reitlinger, 1978.
    Accession no.

Glossary (3)

earthenware, glaze, lustre

  • 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.

  • lustre

    Metallic sheen obtained by applying a mixture of metallic oxides onto an already glazed ceramic that is refired at a reduced atmosphere.


    • currently in research collection

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