Polychrome Luster Tile Fragment, Earthenware; polychrome luster-painted on opaque white glaze

Polychrome Luster Tile Fragment

Object Name:
Tile fragment
9th century
Excavated in Iraq, Samarra
Earthenware; polychrome luster-painted on opaque white glaze
H. 4 1/4 in. (12.1 cm)
W. 6 1/4 in. (15.9 cm)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1923
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 451
While the carved stucco panels best-known to have decorated Abbasid imperial residences are today without color, archaeological evidence indicates that palaces of that period were in fact colorfully adorned with wall paintings, mosaic glass, and glazed ceramics. The multi-colored, mottled patterning of this luster fragment evokes luxurious marble that might also have featured as decoration. The tile is similar to an example in Berlin, that was unearthed at Samarra, which includes the figure of a rooster surrounded by a wreath.
British Museum, London (until 1923; sold to Robert L. Hobson for MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Herzfeld in Samarra," June 5, 2002–March 6, 2003, no catalogue.

Sarre, Friedrich. Die Keramik von Samarra. Berlin: Dietrich Reimer Verlag, 1925. Tafel XXI, no. 1.