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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

Andrew Weiner

(b Beirut, 1925).

Lebanese painter and writer active in the USA. Daughter of a Greek Christian mother and a Syrian Muslim father, Adnan was educated in Lebanon before going on to study philosophy at the Sorbonne, Harvard, and the University of California, Berkeley. For many years she taught aesthetics at Dominican College, San Rafael, CA; she also lectured and taught at many other colleges and universities. During the 1970s Adnan regularly contributed editorials, essays, and cultural criticism to the Beirut-based publications Al-Safa and L’Orient-Le Jour. In 1978 she published the novel Sitt Marie Rose, which won considerable acclaim for its critical portrayal of cultural and social politics during the early years of the Lebanese Civil War. Adnan published numerous books of poetry, originating in her opposition to the American war in Vietnam and proceeding to encompass topics as diverse as the landscape of Northern California and the geopolitics of the Middle East. Her poetry served as the basis for numerous works of theater and contemporary classical music....

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Amol  

Gordon Campbell

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Engobe  

Gordon Campbell

Coating of Slip applied to pottery to obscure its natural colour and to provide a ground through which Sgraffito decorations can be made. The engobe can be variously coloured; in Islamic pottery it is usually white or red.

G. Rowan: ‘Versatilecone 06–6 Clays and Engobes’, Cer. Mthly., 48/6 (June–Aug 2000), pp. 118–19...

Article

S. J. Vernoit

(b Liverpool, April 18, 1863; d London, Dec 19, 1939).

English collector. The eldest son of a Greek merchant, Eumorfopoulos worked for the merchant firm of Ralli Brothers. He initially collected European porcelains and Japanese tea bowls but then turned to Chinese objects, which became his largest collection, emphasizing pottery and porcelains. His second interest was metalwork, and he formed a fine collection of Chinese bronzes; he was also interested in other media, such as jade. He chose items based on his aesthetic response rather than archaeological or rarity value, and he thus placed himself at the forefront of Western taste for Chinese art. From 1924 he also began to acquire Islamic art and formed a separate Chinese collection for the Benaki Museum, Athens, so that the museum eventually had nearly 800 examples of Chinese pottery and porcelain. Eumorfopoulos was elected the first president of the Oriental Ceramic Society in 1921 and retained this position until his death, his house becoming central to the activities of the society. In ...

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 ...

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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....

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Hookah  

Gordon Campbell

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

John Sweetman and A. R. Gardner

[Hindoo, Indo-Saracenic]

Term used specifically in the 19th century to describe a Western style based on the architecture and decorative arts of the Muslim inhabitants (the Moors) of north-west Africa and (between 8th and 15th centuries) of southern Spain; it is often used imprecisely to include Arab and Indian influences. A similar revivalist style prevalent specifically in Spain around the same time is known as the Mudéjar revival. Although their rule in Spain finally ended in 1492, the Moors remained indispensably part of the European vision of the East. (See also Orientalism.)

In the Renaissance moreschi were bandlike patterns allied to grotesques. The Swiss Johann Heinrich Müntz, who visited Spain in 1748 and drew unspecified Moorish buildings, designed a Moorish garden building (1750; London, RIBA) that may have formed the basis for the Alhambra (destr.), one of a series of exotic buildings designed by William Chambers after 1758 for the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, near London. Further early interest was shown by the painter ...

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[‛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 (...

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[Abū Zayd ibn Muḥammad ibn Abī Zayd]

(fl Kashan, 1186–1219).

Persian potter. At least 15 tiles and vessels signed by Abu Zayd are known, more signed works than are known for any other medieval Iranian potter (see fig.). He frequently added the phrase ‘in his own hand’ (bi-khāṭṭihi) after his name, so that it has been misread as Abu Zayd-i Bazi or Abu Rufaza. His earliest piece is an enamelled (Pers. mīnā’ī) bowl dated 4 Muharram 583 (26 March 1186; New York, Met.), but he is best known for his lustrewares. A fragment of a vase dated 1191 (ex-Bahrami priv. col., see Watson, pl. 53) is in the Miniature style, but most of his later pieces, such as a bowl dated 1202 (Tehran, priv. col., see Bahrami, pl. 16a) and a dish dated 1219 (The Hague, Gemeentemus.), are in the Kashan style, which he is credited with developing (see Islamic art, §V, 3(iii)...