Birds were a particularly popular subject in the Abbasid period, as artists in many media transformed the creatures’ beaks and wings into increasingly abstracted designs. The symmetrical pattern of two peacocks facing each other finds iconographic precedents in examples dating from the late antique and Byzantine periods, where it often carried paradisiacal connotations. The exterior is painted with a simple pattern of circles and lines. The underside of the foot is glazed and bears an Arabic inscription. Monochrome luster examples such as this were characteristic of the "second phase" of Abbasid lusterware, which developed in centers in Iraq in the tenth century.
Inscription: In Arabic, on the underside: [Inscription unread]
In Arabic and in Kufic script on the base:
[ Khalil Rabenou, New York, until 1964; sold to MMA]
Jenkins-Madina, Marilyn. "Muslim: An Early Fatimid Ceramist." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, New Series, vol. 26 (May 1968). p. 361, ill. fig. 4 (b/w).
Grube, Ernst J. "The Art of Islamic Pottery." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 23, no. 6 (February 1965). p. 211, ill. figs. 3-4 (b/w).
Ekhtiar, Maryam, Sheila R. Canby, Navina Haidar, and Priscilla P. Soucek, ed. Masterpieces from the Department of Islamic Art in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1st ed. ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2011. no. 12, pp. 35-36, ill. p. 35 (color).