The Abbasid Caliphate was the third of the
Islamic caliphates to succeed the Islamic prophet
Muhammad, with the Abbasid dynasty
descending directly from Muhammad's uncle, Al-
Abbas ibn Abd al-Muttalib (566–653 CE), from
whom the dynasty takes its actual name.
The Abbasids ruled as caliphs for most of their
period from their capital city of Baghdad in
modern-day Iraq, after assuming authority over
the Muslim empire from the Umayyads in 750 AD.
Persianate customs were broadly adopted by the
ruling elite, along with a great financial support to
the arts, with commissions of important
monuments and to scholars.
The capital city of Baghdad became a centre of
science, culture, philosophy and invention during
the Golden Age of Islam. The political power of
the caliphs largely ended with the rise of the
Iranian Buyids and the Seljuq Turks. Although
Abbasid leadership over the vast Islamic empire
was gradually reduced to a ceremonial religious
function, the dynasty retained control over its
Mesopotamian demesne. This period of cultural
fruition ended in 1258 with the sack of Baghdad
by the Mongols under Hulagu Khan.
The Abbasid line of rulers, and Muslim culture in
general, re-centred themselves in the Mamluk
capital of Cairo in 1261. Though lacking in
political power, the dynasty continued to claim
nominal authority along moral and spiritual
influence as the heads of Orthodox Sunni Islam in
religious matters until after the Ottoman conquest
of Egypt in 1517.
It is not until the Abbasid period that a distinct
type and style of ceramic ware emerged that can
be distinguished technically as ‘Islamic’. The first
clear departure from pre-Islamic designs
becomes evident from the middle of the 9th
New methods of manufacture and innovative
decorative and glazing techniques, combined
with a new range of shapes and decorative motifs
that had not previously been seen on the market,
produced a whole range of ceramics that met the
demands of local tastes and satisfied the desire
of the elite classes.