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Bowl

  • Place of origin:

    Azerbaijan (possibly, made)
    Georgia (possibly, made)

  • Date:

    12th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pinky buff earthenware covered with a white slip and with incised decoration

  • Museum number:

    C.725-1923

  • Gallery location:

    Ceramics, Room 143, The Timothy Sainsbury Gallery, case 15, shelf 3

This dish with its elaborate incised and carved displayed eagle has been, traditionally, known as 'Aghkand Ware'. It relates to a group of objects with a distinctive decorative technique said to have been found at Aghkand, Iranian Azerbaijan. They are dated from the 12th into the early 13th centuries. More recently, this type of ware has also been found in quantity in Russian Georgia.

Aghkand ware is also known as "Incised-outline" style. This ceramic is characterised by rims commonly decorated with painted wedges and the incised line is generally used to delimit a field which is then filled with colour, particularly green and brown. Animals, especially birds, are quite often depicted.

Physical description

Pinky buff earthenware bowl covered with white slip. The decoration in the centre is of a stylised displayed eagle painted in green and brown. Flanged rim with zigzag border. The whole is covered with a clear glaze.

Place of Origin

Azerbaijan (possibly, made)
Georgia (possibly, made)

Date

12th century (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Pinky buff earthenware covered with a white slip and with incised decoration

Dimensions

Weight: 0.900 kg, Height: 9.0 cm, Diameter: 25.3 cm

Object history note

Bought from Mons. G. Tabbagh, 39 rue Lafayette, Paris, for £150 (7289/23)

Historical context note

A dish with the same border from the MFA in Boston is illustrated on p.31 of the Medieval Ceramics exhibition catalogue (see Refs.). It is described as Aghkand Ware and being similar to a small number of vessels said to have been found at Aghkand, Iranian Azerbaijan. It is dated to the end of the 12th to the first 1/3 of the 13th century. Then the catalogue entry says that it may have been made in Russian Georgia, where this type of ware has been found in quantity.
The Tareq Rajab Museum in Kuwait has a dish with the same border as well, dated to the 12th century.
Aghkand ware is also known as "Incised-outline" style. It was originally thought to have been made in the town of Aghkand in NW Iran but excavations further northwest in Azerbaijan and Georgia have yielded great quantities of this material. Still known as 'Aghkand ware', this ceramic is characterised by rims commonly decorated with wedges; the incised line is generally used to delimit a field which is then filled with colour, particularly green and brown. Animals, especially birds, are quite often depicted.

Descriptive line

Bowl of pinky buff earthenware covered with a white slip. Decorated with an image of a displayed eagle incised through the slip and painted in colours. The whole is covered with a clear glaze. Aghkand Ware made in Azerbaijan or Georgia, 12th century.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Frierman, Jay D., Medieval Ceramics VI to XIII Centuries, exhibition catalogue, University of California, Los Angeles, 1975
Mason, Robert B.J., Shine Like the Sun. Lustre-Painted and Associated Pottery from the Medieval Middle East, Royal Ontario Museum, 2004
Soustiel, Jean, La céramique islamique: le guide du connaisseur, Fribourg, 1985
Watson, Oliver, Ceramics from Islamic Lands, London: Thames & Hudson, 2004

Labels and date

1 Bowl with eagle
Northern Iran or Georgia, 1100-1200

Part of the eagle's body has been carved out and painted manganese purple.

Museum no. C.725-1923 [(TAB) 2009]

Materials

Earthenware (pinky buff); Slip (coating), white

Techniques

Painting; Glazing; Incising

Subjects depicted

Eagle; Zigzag

Categories

Ceramics; Earthenware

Collection

Middle East Section

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