54 Items in this Learning Collection
Collection Object
Collection Object

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Mina'i ware bowl fragment with figures

Accession Number

Mina'i ware bowl fragment with figures


Artist Nationality

Object Creation Date
late 12th century - early 13th century

Medium & Support
fritware, blue and turquoise underglaze painted enamel overglaze painting in red and black

2 1/4 in. x 7 7/8 in. x 4 in. ( 5.72 cm x 20 cm x 10.16 cm )

Credit Line
Museum purchase

Subject matter
Two portions of the decoration survive: an inscription band which demarcates the juncture of the flaring sides and flat base.The blue Kufic inscription is embellished with small green forms outlined in black and surrounded by red dots. The base area appears to have a loosely organized decoration consisting of figures, trees and birds scattered over its surface. The elements appear to belong to two compositional units, one showing a pair of figures in a landscape, the other an equestrian figure with two attendants. 

In the landscape vignette two seated figures wearing striped garments flank a small tree. A small patch of blue is seen both at the base of its trunk and at the end of its branches, and a pair of foliage spriays grow from the trunk. This one unit preserves the elements of the pool, sky, and garden setting seen on a number of late 12th century polychrome painted ceramics.

Originally, the middle area of the base must have been occupied by an equestrian figure, which was flanked by a pair of attendants. Only the ears of the horse remain but enough survives of the attendant on the left to suggest that he must have been standing with one knee bent, a traditional gesture of respect. The equestrian figure has a pair of birds over his head, a device seen in two vessels portraying princely figures.

The remaining decoration is a frieze composed of blue, turquoise, and red elements. It is used as a filling device on either side of the seated figures...the style of execution represented by this sherd is among the simplest and hence, perhaps, latest of the polychrome painted wares produced by the Kashan potters.


Physical Description
This Mina'i ware bowl fragment displays well preserved base decorations. Five figures, two birds, a tree and a rim of Kufic insciptions float on the interior, while the exterior exhibits alternating red and cobalt symbols. The bowl is made with a pink-tan paste and a glossy all-over glaze. Ivory, red, cobalt, turquoise, black, pink and brown paints are used to create vibrant imagery.

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
bowls (vessels)

& Author Notes

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