"Each part of the world recapitulates, shares in and experiences the history of the world as a whole"
Fernand Braudel

Large Pottery Jar

datation
12th century AD
provenance
Al-Jazira
area
period
materials
themes

This large pottery jar is full of decorations. It has an ovoid body without a flat base, but rather a rounded base. It has an extensively carved cylindrical neck and an embossed ring-shaped rim. The body is ornamented with human standing forms, topped with a band of Arabic calligraphy in the Thuluth style, amidst floral decorations.

A translation of the text reads: “Glory and Auspiciousness and Peace and Happiness and Generosity and Joy and Distinction” (i.e., all the good wishes to the owner of this jar). This calligraphy band is followed with embossed decorations around the neck containing human, animal, sphinx, geometrical and floral forms. In one of the scenes a man sits in an eastern worship pose, legs crossed, and flanked by the face of a lion on either side of his head. A pair of dragons surrounds the scene. Beneath the feet of the seated worshiper is a pair of birds, each with the head of a woman. Under these birds there is a front of a lion. The designs are composed with a sense of symmetry and surrounded with stylized and pierced floral decorations.

This object indicates a clear influence by the mythology of the nations of Central Asia, through the lotus position of the worshipper to the dragon forms and the facial features of the figures.

see also