Kashan Lustre Painted Amphora - LO.1331, Origin: Central Asia, Circa: 1170 AD to 1220 AD, Dimensions: 11.5" (29.2cm) high, Collection: Islamic Art, Style: Kashan, Medium: Fritware, The creation of lusterware is a highly sophisticated process and was a closely guarded secret during the heyday of its production. The technique seems to have been invented in Egypt in the eighth century, although initially it was employed on glass not pottery. It was in Iraq in the ninth century during the Abbasid caliphate that potters first began to experiment with lustre. Islamic prescriptions forbade the use of precious metals, namely gold and silver, for the making of vessels. However lustered ceramics did not fall under this ban and were valued for their glimmering surfaces. One contemporary, Abu’l Qasim, described lusterware as ‘reflecting like red gold and shining like the light of the sun.’ From the late tenth century, Fatimid Egypt overtook Iraq in the quality of its lusterware. The highest quality works, however, were produced in the small town of Kashan between the late twelfth century and the mid-fourteenth. The Mongol invasions in the 1200s do not seem to have had any detrimental effect on the pottery workshops. Kashan wares were much sought after by discerning patrons who often commissioned large-scale tile-work for architectural projects as well a huge range of vessels.
Ancient Near East