‘A whole range of ceramics now met the demands of local tastes and satisfied the desire for the Chinese style.’
It is not until the Abbasid period that a distinct type and style of ceramic ware emerged that can be distinguished technically as ‘Islamic’. The first clear departure from pre-Islamic designs becomes evident from the middle of the 3rd / 9th century in the course of designing vessels to emulate Chinese porcelains. New methods of manufacture and innovative decorative and glazing techniques, combined with a new range of shapes and decorative motifs that had not previously been seen on the market, produced a whole range of ceramics that met the demands of local tastes and satisfied the desire for the Chinese style. The motifs employed during this period include palmettes and stylised-leaf motifs, and calligraphic scripts.
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 smooth whiteness of this bowl imitates Chinese white porcelains and is achieved by using a lead-based glaze mixed with tin oxide. Cobalt, imported from Oman or the northern Hijaz in Arabia, has been used for the decoration.