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

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

Browse: 184 objects

Reference URL


Send e-mail

Contact us about this object

Send e-mail

Send to a friend

Tankard with blue stripes

Glossary (2)

fritware, underglaze painting

  • fritware

    Ceramic material composed of ground quartz and small quantities of clay and finely ground frit (frit is obtained by pouring molten glass into water).

  • underglaze painting

    Painting applied to ceramic material before a transparent, or monochrome or coloured glaze for Islamic objects, is applied. The technique was initially developed in China.


    • First floor | Room 31 | Islamic Middle East

Objects are sometimes moved to a different location. Our object location data is usually updated on a monthly basis. Contact the Jameel Study Centre if you are planning to visit the museum to see a particular object on display, or would like to arrange an appointment to see an object in our reserve collections.


Publications online

  • Islamic ceramics, by James W. Allan

    Islamic Ceramics

    The influence of metalwork recurs in Islamic ceramics. Here a small but interesting feature derived from metalwork is the latch handle on the tankard, which was common on earlier bronzes and contemporary inlaid brasses but is a somewhat impractical shape in clay.

    The frit ware bodies of the tankard and bowl are used to good effect as a white ground for the bright blue stripes under the glaze. The use of such stripes gives the pieces a very modern look, and indeed they were probably appreciated in the 13th century as they are today for their very abstract designs. In a medieval Islamic context, however, they were also almost certainly interpreted in a symbolic way. The symbolism of the Sun has already been discussed (no. 10 [EA1978.2311]). Here the radiating blue lines on the bowl remind us of the Sun’s rays, and the solar symbolism is further enhanced by the central bird figure. For the ability of birds to fly up into the sky relates them to the heavens, and it is of course in the heavens that the Sun has his residence.

© 2013 University of Oxford - Ashmolean Museum