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Lustre-painted pottery jar


Height: 49.000 cm

Godman Bequest

ME OA G 1983.248

Middle East

    Lustre-painted pottery jar

    From Syria
    Late 13th century AD

    This bulbous jar was probably for storage, rather than decoration. The body is decorated with almond-shaped medallions, repeated like tiles. They are separated by single ribbons of dotted circles, a motif known as 'peacock's eye', popular in Islamic decorative arts.

    Inside each medallion is a symmetrical palmette shape, resembling two plant-shoots pinned together at the top. Single palmettes also appear in the centre of Syrian lustre-painted bowls of the twelfth century AD, where they may be the distinctive emblem of a particular potter.

    A band of scrolling vegetation fills the neck of the jar, and an identical band marks the border of the medallion-pattern at the base.

    E. J. Grube and others, Cobalt and lustre: the first c (London, Nour Foundation, 1994)


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