Published Catalogue Text: In Harmony: The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art , written 2013
Dish with green splashed decoration
Iraq, Abbasid period, 9th century
Buff-colored earthenware with patches of green (copper) running in clear lead glaze
4.1 × 21.2 cm (1 5/8 × 8 3/8 in.)
Published: McWilliams 2002a, 13, fig. 4.
Although the collection contains important pre-Islamic antecedents in the Ziwiye wares (cats. 1 and 2), Norma Jean Calderwood’s initial focus was on the glazed ceramics of the Islamic era. This green-splashed dish, the earliest Islamic ceramic vessel in the collection, represents the glazed luxury wares being produced in Abbasid Iraq by the late eighth to early ninth century. The rounded walls and slightly everted rim of this dish recall those of Tang white wares. Whether the production of color-splashed ceramics in the Islamic world was an independent development or was also inspired by wares imported from China is still unresolved. A copper oxide was applied in patches on the exterior and interior rim of this dish before it was fired upright. The green patches flowed freely in the clear glaze, pooling at the center into a shape serendipitously resembling a lotus blossom.
Ceramics with colorants running in a clear glaze were broadly popular and widely produced in the early Islamic era; wasters have been found from Afrasiyab, in Uzbekistan, to Fustat, in Egypt. Because this visual effect could be achieved through various techniques, assigning place and time of production to these wares is often difficult. Calderwood acquired this dish as an example of eastern Iranian splash ware, but on the basis of its well-formed foot, its finely potted profile with recurved rim, and its lack of secondary incised decoration, it is here attributed to Iraq.
 The bowl is of “ancient origin,” according to the results of thermoluminescence analysis carried out at the Research Laboratory of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in 1973.
 Calderwood acquired a small dish, cat. 50, as an example of the green-glazed wares of the late Umayyad period, but it was more likely created in early modern Vietnam or China, according to Robert D. Mowry.
 Watson 2004, 47, 171, 199.
 Wilkinson 1973, 54.
 See Grube 1994, 33.