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Article

Sheila S. Blair

[Abu Ṭāhir]

Persian family of potters. The family is sometimes known, somewhat improperly, by the epithet Kashani [al-Kashani, Qashani], which refers to their home town, Kashan. It was a major centre for the production of lustre pottery in medieval Iran, and they were among the leading potters there, working in both the Monumental and the Miniature styles (see Islamic art, §V, 3(iii)). As well as the lustre tiles for many Shi‛ite shrines at Qum, Mashhad, Najaf and elsewhere, they made enamelled and lustred vessels. Three other families of Persian lustre potters are known, but none had such a long period of production. At least four generations of the Abu Tahir family are known from signatures on vessels and tiles, including dados, large mihrabs and grave covers. The family may be traced to Abu Tahir ibn Abi Husayn, who signed an enamelled bowl (Cairo, Mus. Islam. A.). A lustre bowl in the Monumental style (London, N.D. Khalili priv. col.), signed by ...

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Article

Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

(b. Beirut, 1925).

Lebanese–American artist and writer. Daughter of a Greek Christian mother and a Syrian Muslim father, she was educated in Lebanon and at universities in France and the United States. For many years she taught the philosophy of art at Dominican College, San Rafael, CA. She also lectured and taught at many other colleges and universities until her retirement in the late 1970s. Also a novelist and poet, she combined Arabic calligraphy with modern language in her drawings, paintings, ceramics and tapestries. She explored the relationship between word and image in over 200 “artist books,” in which she transcribed in her own hand Arabic poetry from a variety of sources.

E. Adnan: Sitt Marie Rose (Paris, 1978; Eng. trans., Sausalito, CA, 1982) [novel about the Lebanese Civil War]E. Adnan with R. Koraichi and J.-E. Bencheika: Rachid Koraichi: L’écriture passion (Algiers, 1988)E. Adnan: In the Heart of Another Country (San Francisco, 2005)...

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Amol  

Gordon Campbell

Article

Iraqi, 20th century, male.

Active in England since 1976.

Born 1939, in Baghdad.

Painter, potter, illustrator. Designs for tapes­tries.

Dhia Azzaoui initially studied archaeology. He then went on to study at Baghdad’s school of fine art. He has lived and worked in London since 1976...

Article

Tunisian, 20th century, male.

Born 14 January 1924, in Tunis; died 11 May 2006.

Painter, potter. Figures, interiors.

Ali Bellagha initially studied law before attending the schools of fine art in Tunis and Paris. In about 1970, he opened a shop called Les Métiers, which he also runs....

Article

Tunisian, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 9 October 1951, in Maamoura.

Painter, ceramicist.

In 1977 Khaled Ben Slimane graduated from the Institut Technologique d'Art in Tunis, specialising in ceramics. In 1978-79 he worked at the Massana School in Barcelona and in 1982-83 in Japan.

He employs acrylics in his paintings and is strongly influenced by Arab calligraphy, which appears both in a concealed and an explicit form. The rows of symbols, or writings in various colours, are arranged between parallel horizontal lines, and decorative elements are only allowed as a framing device for his compositions....

Article

Chemla  

Tunisian, 20th century, male.

Born in Tunis.

Ceramicist.

Chemla works in his home town.

Article

Egyptian, 20th century, male.

Born 1940.

Painter, sculptor, ceramicist.

Abdel El Dawakhli studied at Cairo's higher academy of art, then qualified as an art teacher from the San Fernando academy in Madrid and as a master potter and ceramicist from Madrid's central school. He was appointed professor at the higher academy of art in Cairo and, from ...

Article

George Bankes

Pre-Columbian culture and art style that flourished in northern coastal Peru during the Early Intermediate period, between c. 300 bc and c. ad 200. It was named after the site of Gallinazo (Sp. ‘turkey buzzard’) in the Virú valley, which was excavated by the American archaeologist Wendell Bennett in 1936. The Gallinazo culture has been shown to have succeeded that of Salinar in the Virú, Moche and Chicama valleys. Gallinazo architecture in the Virú valley was characterized by a honeycomb dwelling pattern. Some of the walls of the buildings were decorated with cut-out designs in tapia (puddled clay) and adobe mosaics, such as the frieze at El Carmelo. The Gallinazo culture as represented in the Virú valley was subdivided by Bennett into three phases, on the basis of changes in building methods and pottery styles. Gallinazo i is characterized by incised and punch-decorated pottery with some use of negative-painted decoration, which involved covering the design areas in a heat-resistant substance and then firing it. The substance was removed after firing, leaving the negative design. In Gallinazo ...

Article

Ghaybi  

[Ghaybī Tawrīzī; Ghaybī al-Shāmī; Ghaibi]

Arab potter. The name is also applied to a pottery workshop active in Syria and Egypt in the mid-15th century. All the products are underglaze-painted in blue and black. A rectangular panel composed of six tiles decorated with a lobed niche in the mosque of Ghars al-Din al-Tawrizi, Damascus (1423), is signed ‛amal ghaybī tawrīzī (‘the work of Ghaybi of Tabriz’), suggesting that he was associated with Tabriz, a noted ceramic centre in north-west Iran. As the interior of the mosque and tomb is decorated with 1362 unsigned but related tiles, Ghaybi must have been the head of a workshop in Damascus. A fragment of a bowl with a typical Egyptian fabric (New York, Met., 1973.79.9) bears the name ghaybī al-shāmī (‘Ghaybi the Syrian’), suggesting that the potter later moved from Syria to Egypt. A square tile from a restoration of the mosque of Sayyida Nafisa in Cairo (Cairo, Mus. Islam. A.) is signed by ...

Article

Gordon Campbell

[gomroon, gombron]

Type of Persian pottery, imitated by the Chelsea porcelain factory. The name derives from the Persian port of Gombroon (now Bandar Abbas, in Iran), where the East India Company had a station. The term is sometimes used vaguely, but has the specific sense of a 17th-century Persian pottery with a thin white body and incised underglaze decoration....

Article

Sheila R. Canby

Type of enamelled (Pers. mīnā'ī) ware made in Iran in the late 12th century and early 13th; dated mina'i wares range from 1186 to 1224. This overglaze ware, unique to Iran, was probably first made at Kashan. It is a fritware consisting of bowls, jugs, beakers, ewers, vases and bottles covered first with a transparent colourless or opaque turquoise glaze and then fired. Colours such as turquoise and cobalt blue were applied prior to the first firing, whereas black, red, white and gold were painted on to the cold glaze and fixed in a second firing. The result was a group of polychrome pots decorated in a style closely allied to that of book illustration. Indeed, several pieces contain scenes from the Shāhnāma (‘Book of kings’), and one large bowl (Washington, DC, Freer) shows an actual battle that took place in the 1220s.

In addition to identifiable narrative scenes on bowls, tiles and a beaker (Washington, DC, Freer), five bowls are inscribed with the month Muharram and the years ...

Article

Egyptian, 20th century, male.

Born 1926, in Dahme.

Painter.

Ramzi Moustapha studied decorative arts at Cairo University. He then went on to study ceramics at the Istituto Statale d'Arte per la Ceramica in Faenza, Italy, and at the Royal Academy in London. He furthered his artistic training at Moscow University and at the University of Iowa in the USA. His painting features checkerboard constructions exploring the interplay of shadow and light in their tiles....

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Article

[‛Alī Muḥammad Iṣfahānī ibn Ustād Mahdī]

(fl 1870s–1888).

Persian potter and tilemaker. Trained as a mason in Isfahan, he probably followed his father’s trade and chose to specialize in making pottery and tiles. His experiments making tiles that imitated the fine work produced under the Safavids (reg 1501–1732), when Isfahan was the capital of Iran, caught the attention of Major-General Robert Murdoch Smith, director of the Persian Telegraph Department and collector of Persian art, and in 1884 Murdoch Smith ordered wall tiles from ‛Ali Muhammad. The potter soon moved to Tehran, seat of the Qajar court (reg 1779–1924), where he established a workshop at the gate of the Shahzada ‛Abd al-‛Azim. Several large tiles made for the royal music master in 1884–5 (540×427 mm; London, V&A, 511.1889, 512.1889) depicting young men reading poetry in an orchard imitate Safavid work of the 17th century. Seven smaller tiles datable 1884–7 (470×340 mm; Edinburgh, R. Harvey-Jamieson priv. col.) show a more evolved style in which black is used as an incised slip and figures are moulded in relief. The tiles depict scenes from Persian literature such as Shirin and Farhad at Mt Bisitun, and royal receptions, but the faces and dress are in typical Qajar style. ‛Ali Muhammad’s mature style is seen in 12 tiles (...

Article

Muslim  

[Muslim ibn al-Dahhān]

(fl c. Cairo, 1000).

Arab potter. Twenty complete or fragmentary lustreware vessels signed by Muslim are known. A fragmentary plate with birds in a floral scroll (Athens, Benaki Mus., 11122) is inscribed on the rim ‘[the work of] Muslim ibn al-Dahhan to please … Hassan Iqbal al-Hakimi’. Although the patron has not been identified, his epithet al-Hakimi suggests that he was a courtier of the Fatimid caliph al-Hakim (reg 996–1021). The other pieces, bowls or bases from them, are decorated with animals, birds, interlaced bands, inscriptions and floral motifs. One complete bowl (New York, Met., 63.178.1) shows a heraldic eagle, a second (Cairo, Mus. Islam. A., 14930) has a central griffin surrounded by palmettes, and a third (Cairo, Mus. Islam. A., 15958) has a design of four white leaves surrounded by an inscription in kufic offering good wishes. Muslim also countersigned objects made by other potters and may have been the master of an important workshop. His work represents the zenith in the animal, floral and abstract decoration of Egyptian lustrewares of the Fatimid period (...

Article

Iranian, 20th century, male.

Active in the USA.

Born 1934, in Tehran.

Painter, engraver, potter. Figures, scenes with figures, narrative scenes.

Nasser Ovissi studied law and politics in Tehran and Rome before going on to prac­tise as a painter, lithographer, and goldsmith. His painting is inspired by the Iranian tradition, which he reinterprets in primitive works often enriched with calligraphic patterns. He lives and works in Washington....

Article

Israeli, 20th century, female.

Born 1942, in Tel Aviv.

Sculptor (terracotta). Figures. Groups.

Nili Pincas was first interested in painting and weaving. Then in the 1950s she met and married Moreno Pincas, developed an interest in modelling, and went to the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris to develop her knowledge of fine arts. Her work draws its inspiration from traditional popular ceramics, with which she is thoroughly familiar and yet which she alters slightly, mixing dream and reality. The rich colours and harmonious calm of her slip-decorated and enamelled terracotta figures somehow recall ancient Egypt, drawing together the imaginary and the most familiar scenes. Her small-scale world (her figures are never taller than 50 cm) breathes calm and simplicity, sometimes tempered with a peaceful strangeness, as in works such as: ...