This stunning Bowl has decoration incised (hence
“Sgraffiato”) through a white slip, with lively
coloring in various shades of brown, purple and
green bringing a warm ethnic energy to the
piece, under a transparent glaze. The main
decorative motif is a geometric rosette made up
of eight palmettes each of which is separated by
a vertical incised line. Each palmette is incised
with a decorative “pine-cone” design that gives
the piece a very organic feel. The greater body of
the piece is decorated in a similar style but in
larger size. The entire bowl is highlighted in
green with additions of intermittent splashes of
purple and green on the rim.
The incised wares of Eastern Ancient Iran
(present day Afghanistan) have only emerged in
fairly recent archeological publications. They
represent a very widespread and diverse
manufacture. Significant quantities have survived
in very good condition, like the associated
This bowl has a steeply sloping cavetto and
resembles those first reported from the site of
Bamiyan (see Gardin, 1957; especially pls 2-3).
Its form and decoration are closely related to
metalwork. This bowl distinguishes itself by its
similarity to the originally published examples
and rests on a molded foot.
For comparable examples see Oliver Watson,
Ceramics from Islamic Lands, cataloging the Al-
Sabah Collection in the Kuwait National Museum,
Also Earnst J. Grube, Cobalt and Lustre, The
Nasser D. Khallili Collection of Islamic Art, 1994.