Geometric Decoration
Geometric Decoration in Ceramic Recipients
‘Naturalistic motifs are increasingly schematised to reach absolute simplicity.’
In ceramics, geometric motifs are often derived from the simplification of naturalistic plant motifs that have become increasingly schematised and geometric over time. This abstraction process can easily be seen in certain plates and bowls with radial geometric plant decoration. The forms develop from originally naturalistic motifs (such as a flower with rounded petals) to reach the absolute simplicity of radial lines that form triangular sections.
Bowl with radial decoration

Hegira second half of 3rd century / AD second half of 9th century
Abbasid
National Museum of Oriental Art (Museo Nazionale d'Arte Orientale)
Rome, Italy
The flower is an ideal motif for decorating bowls. The most naturalistic representations, such as the first, enable it to be recognised in its more schematic manifestations: the ten petals that surround a radial composition, the flower with its two coronas of petals whose alternating colours lend it certain dynamism, and finally the radial lines.