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  • Place of origin:

    Kashan (made)

  • Date:

    1260-1285 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Fritware with lustre decoration

  • Credit Line:

    Salting Bequest

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Islamic Middle East, Room 42, The Jameel Gallery, case 3

This bowl illustrates the new shapes and designs used when lustre production resumed in Iran about 1260. Its shape and panelled decoration copy Chinese bowls imported at this time.

The Mongol invasions disrupted lustre production in about 1220. When it resumed some forty years later, potters introduced new shapes and designs, as this bowl shows. About 1285, production ceased again, and no lustre ware was made in Iran until the 17th century.

The technique of lustre decoration on ceramics was first developed in Iraq in the 9th century. Potters made a glazed vessel or tile with little or no decoration in the normal way. When the piece had cooled, they painted a design over the glaze in metallic compounds. The pot or tile was then fired again, this time with a restricted supply of oxygen. In these conditions, the metallic compounds broke down, and a thin deposit of copper or silver was left on the surface of the glaze. When polished, this surface layer reflected the light.

Physical description

Fritware bowl with lustre-painted decoration divided into 8 wedges, with foxes and stylized inscriptions (2 wedges each) and interlocking S-shapes (4 wedges). The exterior divided into 'petal panels'.

Place of Origin

Kashan (made)


1260-1285 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Fritware with lustre decoration


Height: 9.9 cm, Diameter: 21.6 cm

Descriptive line

Lustre bowl divided into 8 wedges, with foxes and stylized inscriptions, Iran (probably Kashan), 1260-1285.

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

Soustiel, Jean. La céramique islamique. Le guide du connaisseur. Fribourg, Office du Livre, 1985. ISBN 2-8264-0002-9. Pl. 243, p. 217
Watson, Oliver. Persian Lustre Ware. London: Faber and Faber, 1985. ISBN 0-571-13235-9. Pl. 88, p. 110; Colour Plate H, pp. 110-1
Lane, Arthur. Early Islamic Pottery. London: Faber and Faber, 1947. 52p., ill.; pp. 39-40, plate 64A
Wade Haddon, Rosalind A., 'Mongol Influences on Mamluk Ceramics in the Fourteenth Century' in Doris Behrens-Abouseif (ed.), The Arts of the Mamluks in Egypt and Syria- Evolution and Impact, (Bonn University Press, Goettingen), 2012. ISBN. 9783899719154
p.97, fig.5

Labels and date

Jameel Gallery

Lustre Bowl
Iran, probably Kashan

In Iran, lustre production ceased about 1220, due to the Mongol invasions. When it resumed about 1260, new shapes and designs were used, as this bowl shows. Its shape and panelled decoration copy Chinese bowls imported at this time. About 1285, production ceased again, and no more lustre was made in Iran until the 17th century.

Fritware with colour in and lustre over the glaze

Museum no. C.1955-1910. Bequest of George Salting [Jameel Gallery]
Fritware with lustre decoration.
PERSIAN (Kashan); second half of the 13th century
Salting Bequest [Old gallery label]





Subjects depicted



Ceramics; Lustre ware; Islam


Middle East Section

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