Lobed Chalice

Accession Number

Lobed Chalice


Object Creation Date
12th century - 13th century

Medium & Support
fritware (ground quartz and white clay) with blue underglaze

5 1/2 in (14 cm)

Credit Line
Bequest of Margaret Watson Parker

Label copy
This chalice is an example of fritware, a type of ceramic that evolved in the Islamic Middle East in the second half of the 12th century, response to imported Chinese porcelains. Lacking the raw materials to produce true porcelain, potters in Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Iran began to mix ground quartz with white clay: the resulting 'frit body' was strong and could be thrown or molded to make very thin-walled objects in a wide variety of shapes; it also took glazes very well.
This particular example of fritware demonstrates the close relationship between ceramics and metalwork that is found so often inf Islamic art. The sculptural shape of his clay chalice is unusual in ceramics but common among metal vessels produced in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries in Syria, Eastern Anatolia (modern Turkey) and Western Iran. The potter has added painted blue stripes lining each of the petal-like lobes of the chalice bowl, further emphasizing its organic shape. The bowl and the foot of the chalice were molded separately and then joined together before firing.

Subject matter
This chalice was done in the Raqqa style with vertical blue lines adding accent to the lobes.

Physical Description
A deep lobed chalice

Primary Object Classification

Primary Object Type

Collection Area

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Egyptian (ancient)

4 Related Resources

Before 1492
(Part of 3 Learning Collections)
Visual Cultures of Islam - Ceramics
(Part of: Visual Cultures of Islam )
The Ceramic Road: Cultural Exchange in Asian Ceramics
(Part of: Exchange and Influence on Global Trade Routes)
Cabinet I: Shelf 2
(Part of: Albertine Monroe-Brown Study-Storage Gallery)

& Author Notes

Web Use Permitted

On display

UMMA Gallery Location ➜ AMH, 2nd floor ➜ 205 (Albertine Monroe-Brown Study-Storage Gallery) ➜ Cabinet I ➜ Shelf 2