late 12th century AD
stonepaste ware, painted in yellowish-brown lustre over a transparent glaze (‘Tell Minis’ ware)
5.3 x 21.8cm
The interior of the dish is decorated with a bold design made up of four heart-shaped palmettes. The exterior bears two short inscription, each possibly reading khass (‘private’).
It is now thought that stonepaste wares and lustre painting reached Syria from Fatimid Egypt almost simultaneously, in the late 11th or early 12th century, most probably through migrant craftsmen who later in the 12th century moved eastwards to Iran. They evidently established themselves in north-east Syria on the Euphrates (notably at Raqqa), but some pieces, including this example, have been associated with the site of Tell Minis, south of Aleppo and are consequently known as ‘Tell Minis wares’. The decorative repertory, generally in a monochrome chocolate lustre, is much influenced by the work of the Fatimid Egyptian lustre-painters on pottery and glass at Fustat (Old Cairo), Muslim and Sa‘d.
J.M. Rogers, The Arts of Islam. Masterpieces from the Khalili Collection, London 2010, cat.139, p.119.