This is a beautiful example of a ceramic bowl painted in black under a turquoise blue glaze. The bowl is supported by a foot formed by a ring. The glaze is perfectly applied to the inside of the bowl where the main decoration concentrates. Separated into four quarters by a large lined cross, the inner circumference is adorned with four stylized lotus flowers.
On the exterior, the glaze was not applied to the entire dish. Drips fall on the undecorated surface from a band of glaze that covers the upper outer edge. Traces of black paint are visible under the glaze, but were also applied directly to the plain surface
Black painted ceramics with blue under-glaze are traditionally attributed to the site of Raqqa which has provided a large number of related ceramics. This northern Syrian caravan city was a major production center for terracotta vessels under the Ayyubids, until being conquered by the Mongols in 1259. Remains of pottery firing debris have been discovered, proving, in a somewhat unique way, the activity which was practiced there.
The technique in use in Raqqa was to apply the black pigmented decoration under the glaze. This fairly thick glaze allowed the bowl to obtain an intense blue color that distinguishes the Syrian from the Iranian production at the same period. The glaze was only partially applied with a brush on the outside of the vessels, so as to leave an area for the hands of the craftsman. The drips that are visible on some containers result from the firing during which the thick layers of the glaze melt.
The relative fragility of the blue color may cause cracks, chips and detachments of the glazed layer. When not suffering any damage, it grows into a beautiful clear, glass-like blue such as our example.
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