Fatimid bowl with a drinker, 11th century

David Collection Museum in Copenhagen


Earthenware bowl, painted in lustre over a white glaze
Egypt; 11th century
H: 5.5; Diam: 20.5 cm

While the motifs on figurative bowls painted in lustre in Abbasid Iraq were stylized, a number of quite naturalistic depictions of courtiers, dancers, wrestlers, etc. are known from Fatimid Egypt.

Here we have a young man in a long-sleeved tunic with a tiraz band and wearing an elaborately wound turban. He is pouring a dark drink, presumably wine, from a glass decanter into a beaker, which is a reconstruction, since the bowl is missing three shards. Beside him stands a dish with cakes or fruit from which a palmette grows.

There are many figurative elements in Fatimid art, something that should perhaps be seen in the context of the regionís Coptic Christian tradition.

Source: David Collection Museum, Denmark Inv. no. 4/1992

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Fatimid Illustrations of Musicians, Dancers, Revellers & Labourers