H. 4 11/16 in. (11.9 cm)
Diam. 9 1/4 in. (23.5 cm)
Wt. 18.8 oz. (533 g)
H.O. Havemeyer Collection, Gift of Horace Havemeyer, 1948
Not on view
Bowls such as this one were typical tableware used daily by well-to-do, middle-class owners for liquid or solid food. This example’s biconical shape with a high, slightly conical foot was common in ceramics during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries in both the eastern and the western spheres of the Seljuq realm. Its decorative elements, formulaic benedictory inscriptions—baraka kamila (consummate blessing) in radiating panels, and al-‘izz (glory) repeated four times in reserve on a ground of spirals—and color palette are characteristic of ceramics produced in Raqqa and elsewhere in Greater Syria.
Bowls such as this one were typical tableware used for liquid or solid food. This example is biconical with a high, slightly conical foot, a shape that was very common in ceramics during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, in both the eastern and the western spheres of the Seljuq realm—that is, Iran, Greater Syria, and the Jazira, particularly one of its main production centers, Raqqa. Simple spiral patterns decorate the vessel’s exterior, while eight radiating panels separated by blue bands on the interior present the abbreviated formulaic inscription baraka kamila (consummate blessing) alternating with sections filled with small cross motifs. In a band at the base, the word al-‘izz (glory) is repeated four times in reserve on a ground of spirals. Above and below the band are split-palmettes, also in reserve, enclosing a floral palmette.
The decorative elements, formulaic inscriptions, and color palette, including the tone of the luster glaze, are characteristic of ceramics produced in Raqqa, where the bowl probably originated, although it also shares features with those made elsewhere in Greater Syria. Indeed, this type of vessel was a common tableware item in a popular medium, but it was made more luxurious and visually appealing through the luster decoration. It would have been used daily by its well-to-do, middleclass owner, who was offered protection and praise through the inscribed formulas that blessed both his person and the meals being served to him.
Deniz Beyazit in [Canby, Beyazit, and Rugiadi 2016]
2. Raqqa is the capital of Diyar Mudar, one of the three diyar, or subregions, into which the Jazira was divided by the Arab geographers; see Canard, M. “al-Djazıra.” In EI2 1960–2009, vol. 2 (1965), pp. 523–24. On the bowl’s shape, see Mason, Robert B. J. Shine Like the Sun: Lustre-Painted and Associated Pottery from the Medieval Middle East. Bibliotheca Iranica, Islamic Art and Architecture Series, 12. Costa Mesa, 2004, p. 117; Jenkins-Madina, Marilyn. Raqqa Revisited: Ceramics of Ayyubid Syria. New York, 2006, p. 173, profile 3, “Biconical bowl.”
3. Jenkins-Madina 2006 (reference in note 2 above), pp. 166–68, patterns 2, 4, 6, 18, and 19. For a list of production centers, see Tonghini, Cristina. Qal‘at Ja‘bar Pottery: A Study of a Syrian Fortified Site of the Late 11th–14th Centuries. British Academy Monographs in Archaeology, 11. 1995. Oxford and New York, 1998, pl. 38.
Inscription: Inscribed in Arabic in kufic, at center: العز Glory (repeated four times).
On four radiating panels: بركة كاملة Consummate blessing (in two abbreviated forms).
Note 1: Reading and translation per Jenkins-Madina, Marilyn. Raqqa Revisited: Ceramics of Ayyubid Syria. New York, 2006, p. 126.
[ Kouchakji Frères, Paris and New York, until 1918; their sale, American ArtGalleries, New York, March 8–9, 1918, lot 301, to Brummer; [ Joseph Brummer, New York, from 1918]; H. O. Havemeyer Collection, New York (until 1948; gifted to MMA)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Court and Cosmos: The Great Age of the Seljuqs," April 25, 2016–July 24, 2016, no. 48.
Jenkins-Madina, Marilyn. "Ceramics of Ayyubid Syria." In Raqqa Revisited. New York; New Haven: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2006. pp. 10, 126, 222, ill. MMA11, pp. 167, 168, 171, 173.
Canby, Sheila R., Deniz Beyazit, and Martina Rugiadi. "The Great Age of the Seljuqs." In Court and Cosmos. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2016. no. 48, p. 119, ill. (color).