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Lobed Chalice


Artwork Details

Lobed Chalice
12th century - 13th century
fritware (ground quartz and white clay) with blue underglaze
5 1/2 in (14 cm)
Bequest of Margaret Watson Parker

On Display

Not currently on display


This chalice is an example of fritware, a type of ceramic that evolved in the Islamic Middle East in the second half of the 12th century, response to imported Chinese porcelains. Lacking the raw materials to produce true porcelain, potters in Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Iran began to mix ground quartz with white clay: the resulting 'frit body' was strong and could be thrown or molded to make very thin-walled objects in a wide variety of shapes; it also took glazes very well.
This particular example of fritware demonstrates the close relationship between ceramics and metalwork that is found so often inf Islamic art. The sculptural shape of his clay chalice is unusual in ceramics but common among metal vessels produced in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries in Syria, Eastern Anatolia (modern Turkey) and Western Iran. The potter has added painted blue stripes lining each of the petal-like lobes of the chalice bowl, further emphasizing its organic shape. The bowl and the foot of the chalice were molded separately and then joined together before firing.

Subject Matter:

This chalice was done in the Raqqa style with vertical blue lines adding accent to the lobes.

Physical Description:

A deep lobed chalice

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