Asian Art
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Bowl of Rakka Type

late 12th–early 13th Century

pottery

4 3/4 x 9 1/4 in. (12 x 23.5 cm)
Gift of David M. Levitt
1958.63.2
Culture: 
Islamic, Syrian
Period: 
Ayyubid period (ca. 1171–1260)
Classification: 
Containers - Ceramics
Status: 
Not on view
Provenance: 

Parish-Watson Collection No. 4, Fig 29; Levitt Collection No. V.25 (bears 2 numbered labels);

NUMBER 4, TURQUOISE AND BLACK POTTERY BOWL WITH PALMETTO DECORATION
RAQQA, MESOPOTAMIA, 12TH TO 13TH CENTURY
SHAPE
Funnel-shaped bowl, standing on a high, cylindrical foot. Elegantly out-curved form, the potting gradually becoming thinner towards the rim.
TECHNIQUE
Light grayish sandy paste. The decoration is painted in a thick black slip on the body. Details are executed in sgraffito. The whole covered with a brilliant translucent blue glaze.
DECORATION
Outside: The upper part of the body is covered with a beautiful turquoise glaze. A bold black line is drawn around the middle.
Inside: An arabesque decoration which is a direct descendant of the leaf and ribbon patterns of the Coptic tapestries, a few centuries earlier. The inside of the bowl is divided in three radiant sections, each separated from the other by intertwined ribbons forming a hexagonal star on the bottom of the
bowl. A broad band runs along the rim of the bowl and is connected with the central star by three intricate interlacings, separating the three sections, one from the other. In the centre of each section is a vigorously drawn arabesque leaf, doubtlessly derived from the vine leaves used so much in textile and other decoration during the Roman period in Egypt. Beaded lines outline both the leaf motives and the point of the hexagonal star. These leaf motives, as well as the interlaced ribbons, are a constant motif in the Arabic silk tapestries of the Early Mohammadan period.
The boldness of the design and the simplicity of the composition of this bowl are remarkable.
Height, 4^ inches; diameter, 9}i inches.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.