Abbasid Ceramics

Revolution or Evolution? The Development of a true Islamic style in Ceramics


A. The Historical Background
  A.1. A Brief History of the Abbasid Revolution
  A.2. The Search for a Capital: from Baghdad to Samarra
    including Ibn al-Khatib's account of a Byzantine embassy to Baghdad
  A.3. Samarra: "glorious garment of the ruler":
    a. Introduction
    b. The Palaces
    c. The Mosques:
      i. The Great Mosque of Samarra:
        1. The enclosure
        2. The fountain
        3. The minaret
      ii. The Mosque of Abu Dulaf:
        1. The minaret
    d. The Mesopotamian helicoidal tower
LECTURE 2: The Political Initiative for the Mosque of Ibn Tulun in Cairo and its Relation to Samarra
    e. Development and Decline
  A.4. Bibliography
B. Changes in International Trade
  B.1. Trade in the pre-Abbasid period
  B.2. Trade Developments under the Abbasids
  B.3. Sailing to China
  B.4. Changing Patterns of Trade
C. The Ceramic Assemblage: Problems of Dating
  C.1. The case for revolution
  C.2. The evidence from Pella and Siraf
  C.3. ‘Dynamic’ vs. ‘Dynastic’: the evolutionary chronology
D. Pottery as Alchemy: The beginnings of innovation in Islamic pottery
  D.1. Centres of Innovation
  D.2. Influence from China
  D.3. The “Venture towards Replication”
  D.4. Types and techniques:
    a. Tin opacification of glazes
    b. Underglaze decoration in cobalt-blue
    c. The invention of lustre:
      i. Origins: Lustre on glass
      ii. Chronology: the development of lustre:
        1. Bichrome
        2. Polychrome
        3. Monochrome
    d. Other pottery types
    e. Conclusion
  D.5. Signatures on Abbasid pottery
  D.6. Decline and Diaspora
    a. The Abbasid ‘International Style’
    b. Migration West
E. Main Bibliography
F. Study Guides
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