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HOME : Islamic Art : AS Collection 4 : Slip Painted Polychrome Pottery Jug
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Slip Painted Polychrome Pottery Jug - LO.730
Origin: Central Asia
Circa: 10 th Century AD to 11 th Century AD
Dimensions: 7.5" (19.1cm) high
Collection: Islamic Art
Medium: Pottery


Additional Information: AS

Location: Great Britain
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Description
“[slipware] is... of the highest intellectual order; they hold the essence of Islam undiluted” Arthur Lane, author of Early Islamic Pottery (London, 1947) Buff earthenware, polychrome on white-slip under clear glaze; piriform body with wide funnel neck, short foot-ring and arched handle; geometric register to upper body consisting of interlacing bands that divide the surface into panels filled with arabesque; neck with leaf sprays, the interstices similarly filled with arabesque. Excellent surfaces with some loss of slip and minor repair to mouth. At their very best, slip-wares of 10-11th centuries are among the most impressive ceramics ever made in the Islamic world. The praxis of painting in thick, coloured slips was restricted to Iran and parts of Central Asia, a region that today denotes Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Precisely thrown and turned to a remarkable thinness, the exceptional standard of finish sets this piece quite apart from contemporaneous earthenwares. The surfaces have been carefully rubbed down to achieve a regular, symmetrical form and most attractive iridescent glaze applied. The underglaze decoration – the sum of black, brown and red geometric and vegetal elements – is extremely well executed and encompasses key components of Islamic non-figural decoration. In spite of the humble material, the weight of the design – in no small part due to its simplicity – propels this piece into a higher artistic class. While the main register is closed - its borders clearly delineated– the interlacing bands lend themselves to repetition fulfilling the Islamic desire for a harmonious and balanced design. We see influence across a vast area that is reflected and reiterated across a wide range of forms and material. The shape of the vessel corresponds with contemporary unglazed wares and the decoration follows what might be seen on bowls. Pre-Islamic wares are also referenced. Rather than ignoring the cultures of the peoples they encountered during the empires rise to eminence, the great dynasties that shaped and defined the empire appropriated certain elements and perpetrated them within their own artistic vocabulary. Classical and Roman influence was transmitted by Late Antique and Byzantine sources in the west and Persian by the Sassanians in the east. Comparable vessels within the Barakat Collection have been assigned the provenance of Nishapur. It may well be possible to attribute this piece to the same kiln. A similar jug on display at Kuwait National Museum has been identified from an inscription as a wine jug so it is not unreasonable to assume this jar was intended to serve a similar function. For similarly shaped vessels, cf. Ceramics from Islamic Lands, Oliver Watson (Thames & Hudson, New York, 2004) P.216, Cat.Ga.14.5 & P.228, Cat.Gb.13. Small jug, slip-painted black-on-white ware. The globular body rests on a low foot-ring and has a tall widely opening funnel-shaped neck and a tall handle. The decoration is painted in black on a white ground slip an on the upper part of the body presents heavy painted double black fillets which run around and form series of oval on top, the spaces in between are decorated by scrollwork. The decoration of the neck presents two sets of series of semicircles, one facing down, the other up while the almost perfect rectangular areas, formed by the semicircles, once more display simple scrolls. Iran or Central Asia, 10th century. Prof.Geza Fehervari Prof. Geoffrey King - (LO.730)

 

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