Tareq Rajab Museum



    CER-0796-TSRSgraffiato pottery belonged to one of the most important and earliest wares and there are 116 such items in the collection, including four Coptic vessels. It was suggested that the sgraffiato technique was invented and introduced by the Copts in Egypt as early as the 4th and 5th centuries AD. All four pieces in the museum may have been discovered on a shipwreck,CER-0150-TSR since barnacles stuck to them. They preserve traces of a white glaze which once must have covered them. One of them is decorated with a fish incised at the base (CER796TSR).

    Sgraffiato ware played an important role in Iranian pottery during the 11th and early 13th centuries. Several types were developed. One of these may be called simple sgraffiato, i.e. when the design was incised into a ground slip and covered with a coloured or colourless transparent glaze. One such CER-0160-TSRvessel is a bowl, coated with a yellow ground slip into which a large floral design was incised with scrollwork around and covered with a colourless lead glaze (CER0150TSR).

    The second type is known under the name of "Amol", after the small town in Mazandaran, where several of these vessels were discovered. On "Amol" wares the incised lines are painted in green and occasionally also in brown, which makes these pieces very colourful. A small "Amol" dish depicts a swimming fish with scrollsCER-0177-TSR around (CER0160TSR).

     The third type is known as champleve, when the decoration was carved out of the ground slip. A small bowl with yellow ground slip, decorated with a four-petalled flower at the base and an undulating scroll around the rim, may be a transitional piece from the simple sgraffiato to the carved ware (CER0177TSR).

    CER-1746-TSRA second vessel, showing a seated, probably female figure on a cushion, is a fully developed example (CER1746TSR).

     The fourth Iranian sgraffiato is known under the name of "Aghkand", after a small place in northwestern Iran. On "Aghkand" wares the incised lines serve to separate the different colours, such like in cloisonne. Most "Aghkand" vessels are large bowls or dishes, depicting large birds or animals. A large bowl with an everted flat rim in the Museum's collection shows a cockerell against a floral scroll (CER1747TSR).CER-1747-TSR Most of these Iranian sgraffiato can be dated to the 12th century AD. Syrian sgraffiato of the same period is closely related to "Aghkand" wares.

    CER-0655-TSRThe vessels have the same rounded sides and everted flat rim and they are likewise very colourful, like the large bowl which is the only such ware in the collection (CER0655TSR).

    Somewhat different sgraffiato was made in Afghanistan during the pre-Mongol period, i.e. between During the Mamluk period a special type, the so-called Mamluk sgraffiato was made in Egypt during the 14th and 15th centuries. They were made of thick red earthenware and coated with a mustard coloured ground slip into which the decoration was incised, then covered with a clear lead glaze. The incised designs were frequently paintedCER-0616-TSR in manganese. The decorations included balzons, animals and inscriptions.


    The Museum has five complete or near complete vessels seven fragments in its collection. A fragmentary bowl, which lost its rim has a floral design at its base (CER0616TSR), while a second complete vessel is decorated with a six-pointed star and four fish swimming around, while the everted rim carries pseudo-epigraphic inscriptions (CER0615TSR).


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