Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Boat-Shaped Bowl with Human Head and Animals

Object Name:
late 11th–12th century
Stonepaste; molded, opaque white glaze
H. 3 3/8 in. (8.6 cm) W. 4 3/8 in. (11.1 cm) L. 6 3/4 in. (17.1 cm) Wt. 6.2 oz. (175.8 g)
Credit Line:
Harry Dick Brisbane Fund, 1963
Accession Number:
Not on view
This small whiteglazed bowl is in the shape of a bird with a human face. Its body is decorated with delicate reliefs: a frieze of animals running along the rim, and a medallion on each side containing a human figure. The face with its almond-shaped eyes is clearly of the Seljuk type. Its application to what appears to be the body of a bird recalls the mythological figure of the harpy, which can frequently be found in Islamic art and probably goes back to Central Asian sources.
[ Nasli M. Heeramaneck (Indian, 1902–1971), New York, until 1963; sold to MMA]
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Fifty Years of Collecting Islamic Art," September 23, 2013–January 26, 2014.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Transformed: Medieval Syrian and Iranian Art in the Early 20th cent.," February 10, 2016–July 17, 2016.

Grube, Ernst J. "The Art of Islamic Pottery." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 23, no. 6 (February 1965). pp. 217, 219, ill., figs. 14-15 (b/w); illustrate exterior of bowl and end with human head; comparative works mentioned.

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