54 Items in this Learning Collection
Collection Object
Collection Object

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Accession Number



Artist Nationality

Object Creation Date
12th century - 13th century

Medium & Support
fritware with overglaze enamel painting

2 1/2 in. x 8 11/16 in. x 8 11/16 in. ( 6.3 cm x 22 cm x 22 cm )

Credit Line
Museum Purchase

Subject matter
The horizontal orientation of the decorative scheme of this bowl is distinctive--three figures conversing, bracketted on top and bottom by areas of scrollwork and birds. This might be compared to an equestrian version (cp. Ferhervari, #122) in the Barlow collection in which the figures are similarly arrayed on the bowl's interior surface. Another piece also painted with a pair of horsemen has a comparable inscription band and feeling of spontaneous simplicity seein in our bowl (cp. Grube, #147). A similar coordination of emblematic vegetal motifs and seated figures appears on another turquoise glazed bowl in the Barlow collection (cp. Fehervari, #124) on which the blue rim scalloping and black exterior inscription also appear. Anatomically related birds and the shorter bobbed hair styles of the men can also be seen in other bowls (cp. Lane, EIP, #68B, Grube,#147). Grube deals extensively with iconography in his study of the Keir collection on that premise that most bowls would have a connotative significance not immediately appreciated by modern audiences. He would associated a seemingly anonymous equestrian motif with some long lost "symbol of conquering knight". From such a generous iconographical standpoint, our bowl should be considered one of many decorated scenes of mystical conversation . However, it might be noted that in examples cited above which appear to have a common vocabulary of motif, there is also a shared lack of specificity in subject matter.

Esil Atin's plate # 51 in Ceramics from the World of Islam exhibits a comparable bowl with similarly placed horizontal seated figures surrounded by birds. Plate 51 has been identified as a royal couple at center flanked by musicians, dancers and singers. The Kufic inscriptions on plate 51 center around themes of prosperity, victory, and triumph which are common themes in royal Islamic objects. Plate 51 is dated as 13th century Seljuk which is also similar to our bowl. 

Physical Description

This Mina'i plate features seated figures of royalty, probably princes and/or princesses, along with two attendants and birds. There is a stylized inscription on the exterior. The glazed plate features turquoise, cobalt, black, white and brown-red coloring. It is likely a provincial or late Mina'i  style plate from the Seljuk period.

Primary Object Classification

Collection Area

If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form. Keywords
Iranian Islamic pottery styles after the Mongols
Islamic (culture or style)
Seljuk pottery styles
ceramic (material)
household objects
overglaze (material)
plates (general, dishes)

2 Related Resources

Arts from Persia and Iran
(Part of: Ancient and Classical Civilizations)
Visual Cultures of Islam - Ceramics
(Part of: Visual Cultures of Islam )

& Author Notes

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