10th century AD
earthenware, with a thin opacified glaze and in-glaze staining in bluish-green and manganese purple
5 x 34cm
When using opaque glazes, there is no easy way to prevent decoration in other colours from running. This could be exploited to decorative effect: here, the fuzzy contours of the inscription, which appears to read ‘abduhu (‘His [God’s] servant’), give the impression that it has been written with a brush rather than a pen, while the green patches at the rim drip down in a deliberately haphazard manner, which also imitates the drip-and-splash decoration of Tang stonewares.
E.J. Grube et al, Cobalt and Lustre. The First Centuries of Islamic Pottery, The Nasser D Khalili Collection of Islamic Art, volume IX, London 1994, cat.38, pp.50–51. J.M. Rogers, The Arts of Islam. Masterpieces from the Khalili Collection, London 2010, cat.25, p.48.