Ceramic bowl with glazed relief

From Egypt, 9th century AD

Imitating worked silverware

Competition with popular Chinese imports influenced many innovations and developments in early Islamic ceramics. The shape of this tiny bowl is clearly influenced by porcelain bowls of the Chinese Tang dynasty (AD 618-906) , imported into the Middle East in this period. The relief-moulding may also show the influence of worked silverware also imported from Tang China, although relief-moulded ceramic objects (similarly inspired by silverwork) had been made in the Eastern Mediterranean area during the days of the early Roman Empire.

A rich variety of patterns - such as 'herringbone', 'pine-cone', and 'peacock's eye' - appear in relief around the interior of the bowl, accentuated with coloured glazes.

Examples of glazed relief ware from the ninth century have been found in sites in Egypt, Iraq, Syria and Persia.

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More information


H. Philon, Benaki Museum, Athens, early I (Islamic Art Publications, S.A. distrbuted by Sotheby Parke Bernet Publications, 1980)

A. Lane, 'Glazed relief ware of the ninth century AD', Ars Islamica, 6 (1939), pp. 56-65


Height: 3.500 cm
Length: 11.000 cm

Museum number

ME OA 1994.6-2.1


Brooke Sewell Fund


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