Fragment of a bowl, made in Málaga, Spain, 1250-1350, tin-glazed earthenware with lustre decoration
Rim fragment from a small conical bowl, probably originally with a shallow profile. It is glazed on the exterior with a lead glaze and on the interior with an opaque tin-glaze. It is painted with a monochrome silver/copper lustre on the interior only. Its decoration consists of a geometric interlace pattern at the centre, surrounded by a wide frieze of vegetal scrolls border below the vertical rim. Technical Description The original diameter of this bowl can be extrapolated at 23 cm. It probably came down to quite a small base (of roughly the same size as C.1606-1927 ie approx 7 cm), since the thickness of the body starts to narrow as it approaches the foot. It was therefore not very big bowl originally and probably had quite a shallow profile. The clay is very fine and well-levigated. It is very red in colour. The tin-glaze is thick and white, indicating that a large amount of tin oxide has been used in the glaze mixture. The application of the lustre decoration suggests it has been painted on with a brush. It is a good quality lustre . There is a tripod scar at the bottom pointed corner which also has a bit of glaze stuck to it from the bowl which would have originally been stacked inside this bowl during the firing. It is very smooth on the back indicating that it has been turned with a tool. Long dragging areas in the concentric marks on the back indicate where a bit of clay has been caught in the tool as it was turning, probably on a wheel. There is no decoration on the exterior, which seems to have been glazed with a less expensive lead glaze.
This object was found at Fustat (Egypt). It was presented to the V&A by Major W. J. Myers in 1897, before official excavations began at the site. Comparative Study This object has exactly the same decoration as another bowl fragment in the V&A collection, also found at Fustat: C.789-1921, published in Ray (2000), cat. no. 3 which he tentatively dates to the late 13th century. The two fragments do not fit together so they do not come from the same object. The decoration of both bowls is also the same as the fragments from the lid of a conical bowl (C.788-1921; Ray (2000), cat. no. 2), indicating that lids and bowls must have originally been made with matching decoration.
Given by Major W. J. Myers
Location: In Storage