- Gallery Text
As central control weakened in the Abbasid Empire, regional dynasties arose to support, challenge, or redefine the authority of the caliph in Baghdad. The arts flourished in many centers, and wealthy merchant and professional classes emerged. A dramatic increase in productivity and innovation and an unprecedented expansion of figural decoration characterize the arts of this period.
A transforming event was the influx of Turkic and Mongol peoples from Central and Inner Asia. Most of the objects in this case were created in lands ruled by the most important of the Turkic dynasties, the Great Seljuks (1038–1157), and their immediate successors, the Atabegs. The Mongol invasions into Islamic lands began in the early 1200s and culminated in the 1258 sack of Baghdad. Eventually, the Mongols established their rule as the Yuan dynasty in China, the Chagatay Khanate in Central Asia, the Golden Horde Khanate in southern Russia, and the Ilkhanid dynasty (1256–1335) in greater Iran. The integration of a vast Eurasian territory into the Mongol Empire facilitated commerce and communication, bringing fresh Chinese inspiration into Islamic art.
- Identification and Creation
- Object Number
- Bowl with Radial Design
- Work Type
- late 12th-early 13th century
- Creation Place: Middle East, Iran, Kashan
- Seljuk-Atabeg period
- Persistent Link
Level 2, Room 2550, Art from Islamic Lands, The Middle East and North Africa
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- Physical Descriptions
- Fritware painted with black (chromium), blue (cobalt), turquoise (copper), and brownish-red (iron) over white lead alkali glaze opacified with tin.
- 8.5 x 22.1 cm (3 3/8 x 8 11/16 in.)
- [Mansour Gallery, London, 1972], sold; to Stanford and Norma Jean Calderwood, Belmont, MA (1972-2002), gift; to Harvard Art Museums 2002.
- Acquisition and Rights
- Credit Line
- Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art
- Accession Year
- Object Number
- Asian and Mediterranean Art
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- From the six-petaled ornament at the center of this bowl radiates an exquisite maze of arabesques and interlaced lines reminiscent of the plaited ascending letters in some Kufic inscriptions. Blue, black, light turquoise, and brownish red are painted over the opaque white glaze. The exterior bears a scrawled cursive pseudo-inscription. There are several cracks and repairs.
Published Catalogue Text: In Harmony: The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art , written 2013
Bowl with radial interlace design
Iran, Seljuk-Atabeg period, late 12th–early 13th century
Fritware painted with black (chromium), blue (cobalt), turquoise (copper), and brownish-red (iron) over white lead alkali glaze opacified with tin
8.5 × 22.1 cm (3 3/8 × 8 11/16 in.)
Published: McWilliams 2003, 243, 247, fig. 29.
From the six-petaled ornament at the center of this bowl radiates an exquisite maze of arabesques and interlaced lines reminiscent of the plaited ascending letters in some Kufic inscriptions. Blue, black, light turquoise, and brownish red are painted over the opaque white glaze. The exterior bears a scrawled cursive pseudo-inscription. There are several cracks and repairs. Although mīnāʾī bowls with abstract decoration are rarer than those with figural designs,[2[ similar examples can be found in the Khalili Collection, London, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
 The bowl was last fired between 400 and 800 years ago, according to the results of thermoluminescence analysis carried out by Oxford Authentication Ltd. in 2011.
 Grube 1994, 216.
 Ibid., 216, fig. 237; McWilliams 2003, 248, fig. 31.
- Publication History
Jessica Chloros, "An Investigation of Cobalt Pigment on Islamic Ceramics at the Harvard Art Museums" (thesis (certificate in conservation), Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies, 2008), Unpublished, pp. 1-41 passim
Mary McWilliams, ed., In Harmony: The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art, exh. cat., Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2013), pp. 50-51, ill.; pp 53-54, ill.; p. 188, cat.28, ill.
- Exhibition History
Overlapping Realms: Arts of the Islamic World and India, 900-1900, Harvard University Art Museums, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 12/02/2006 - 03/23/2008
32Q: 2550 Islamic, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 01/01/2050
This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at firstname.lastname@example.org