Bowl with Fish

Date: 1000–1300

Culture: Byzantine

Medium: Earthenware, engraved slip, clear glaze

Dimensions: Overall: 3 9/16 x 10 1/16 in. (9 x 25.5 cm)

Classification: Ceramics

Credit Line: Gift of Christopher C. Grisanti and Suzanne P. Fawbush, 2000

Accession Number: 2000.322


The slyly smiling fish swimming among the reeds was drawn with a sure hand into the white slip covering the interior of the bowl and then covered—again, only on the interior—with a clear glaze. The fish represents a food popular in Byzantium, and large fish were often offered as important gifts. The inventive economy of line and the sense of humor found in this drawing rarely survive in Byzantine art, and then most often on humble ceramics like this one.