Tareq Rajab Museum

Kuwait           

    Underglaze painted wares

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    Underglaze-painted wares again form a large group in the Museum's collection since there are nearly 300 pieces. Potters must have realized that instead of carving out designs from the ground slip it was considerably easier and quicker to paint with a brush and then cover it with a transparent colourless or coloured glaze. A beautifully decorated bowl displays both the silhouette technique and brush painting and therefore, it is most likely a transitional piece (CER0398TSR). Other examples show the fully developed underglaze-painted type, like the bowl which has radiating wedge-shaped panels, painted in cobalt-blue and black under a clear glaze (CER0403TSR). On a second bowl the decoration was painted only in black under a transparent blue glaze (CER0397TSR). All these vessels were made in Iran, perhaps in Kashan and can be dated to the late 12th or 13th century AD. A considerably later vessel is the bowl showing swimming fish around the base, black and blue lines below the rim (CER0576TSR). It may be dated to the 14th century. Again later example is is the bowl which displays an imaginative design painted in black and blue (CER1653TSR). It is a so-called "transitional" piece and may be attributed to the late Timurid period, i.e. second half of the 15th century AD.

    Underglaze-painted wares were also popular in Syria and their decoration, occasionaly even the shapes, follow Iranian examples. An early 13th century example is the small ewer painted in black under a blue glaze (CER1769TSR). Comparatively rare and unique piece is the large bird, also with black decoration under the coloured glaze (CER0494TSR), but again similar examples are known from Iran. On the other hand the colourful bowl with alternate epigraphic and floral designs is a later example, which was made during the Mamluk period in the 14th or early 15th century AD (CER0589TSR).

    Afghan potters also produced underglaze-painted vessels, but the decoration of their vessels was minimal, save a few exceptions, restricted to simples or scrollworks or semicircles. Nevertheless a rare and outstanding object is in the museum in the shape of a figurine. It is the self-portrait of a one-armed potter, sitting at the wheel,. shaping the vessel with his left hand and pushing the wheel with his right leg (CER0672TSR). The details are paintefd in black under a transparent blue glaze. This piece may be dated to the early 13th century AD.
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