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Bowl Inscribed "Wealth", early 13th century

  • Islamic, Iranian

Composite body, opaque white glaze, polychrome underglaze and overglaze painted decoration

  • Overall: 3 7/8 × 8 1/4 inches (9.8 × 21 cm)

City of Detroit Purchase


In their desire to imitate contemporary Chinese Song ceramics, the Seljuks were responsible for the most important innovation in early medieval Islamic pottery. They rediscovered a frit body of clay, quartz, and potash, an ancient Egyptian invention that permitted a variety of color and decoration. Mina’i (enameled) was the most elaborate Seljuk pottery style, requiring several firings for pigments and gold leaf. Its figural style, derived from wall and miniature painting, preserved in a durable medium an almost vanished aspect of Seljuk art. This luxury ware was produced in Kashan for an emerging wealthy middle class.

Inscribed, Kufic script, against floral scrolls.

(Hassan Khan Monif, Persian Antique Gallery, New York, New York, USA)

1930-present, purchase by the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)

Shreve Simpson, M. "Narrative Allusion and Metaphor in the Decoration of Medieval Islamic Objects: Pictorial Narrative in Antiquity and the Middle Ages," Studies in the History of Art. Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art, vol 16, p .133 (ill.), p. 143. Ettinghausen, R., and G. D. Guest. "The Iconography of a Kashan Luster Plate," Ars Orientalis vol. 4. 1961, pl. 14, (fig. 47) (ill.), pp. 45 and 47. Aga-Oglu, Mehmet. "A Rhages Bowl with a Representation of an Historical Legend," Bulletin of the DIA 12, no.3 (December 1930): p. 31 (ill.), p. 32. Peck, Elsie H. "Like the Light of the Sun: Islamic luster-Painted Ceramics," Bulletin of the DIA 71, no. 1/2 (1997): p. 22 (fig. 6) (ill.). Survey of Persian Art, vol. II, p. 1629; vol. V, pl. 69 (ill.). Henshaw, Julia P., ed. A Visitors Guide: The Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1995, p. 121 (ill.).

Islamic, Iranian, Bowl Inscribed "Wealth", early 13th century, composite body, opaque white glaze, polychrome underglaze and overglaze painted decoration. Detroit Institute of Arts, City of Detroit Purchase, 30.421.