- Identification and Creation
- Object Number
- Cup with Lobed Rim and Human Faces
- Work Type
- 12th century
- Creation Place: Middle East, Iran
- Seljuk-Atabeg period
- Persistent Link
- Physical Descriptions
- Fritware with molded relief decoration under blue (cobalt) transparent alkali glaze
- 10.8 x 14.2 cm (4 1/4 x 5 9/16 in.)
- [Mansour Gallery, London, before 1978], sold; to Stanford and Norma Jean Calderwood, Belmont, MA (by 1978-2002), gift; to Harvard Art Museums, 2002.
- Acquisition and Rights
- Credit Line
- Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art
- Accession Year
- Object Number
- Asian and Mediterranean Art
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- This cup is decorated with repeated human heads molded in relief. The lobed rim follows the contours of the projecting heads, which feature large, almond-eyed faces.The deep blue glaze covers the interior and exterior body of the cup and has flowed onto the base. On one side, it has deteriorated, becoming iridescent.
Published Catalogue Text: In Harmony: The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art , written 2013
Cup with lobed rim and human faces
Iran, Seljuk-Atabeg period, 12th century
Fritware with molded relief decoration under blue (cobalt) transparent alkali glaze
10.8 × 14.2 cm (4 1/4 × 5 9/16 in.)
Published: McWilliams 2004, 5, fig. 6.
The development of fritware in the twelfth century opened new paths in ceramics production. By adding large quantities of quartz to the clay, potters could make white-bodied vessels with thinner walls, more delicate shapes, and greater durability. Some of these fine objects were coated with blue, turquoise, purple, or colorless glazes.
This cup is decorated with repeated human heads molded in relief. The lobed rim follows the contours of the projecting heads, which feature large, almond-eyed faces. The deep blue glaze covers the interior and exterior body of the cup and has flowed onto the base. On one side, it has deteriorated, becoming iridescent.
 The results of thermoluminescence analysis of this cup carried out by Oxford Authentication Ltd. in 2011 were inconclusive.
 For lobed bowls with similar molded decoration, see Fehérvári 2000, 101 (Tareq Rajab Museum, Kuwait, CER 1750TSR) and Grube 1994, 176–77, cat. 173 (Khalili Collection, London, POT885).
- Publication History
Mary McWilliams, Closely Focused, Intensely Felt: Selections from the Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art, brochure, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2004)
Jessica Chloros, "An Investigation of Cobalt Pigment on Islamic Ceramics at the Harvard Art Museums" (thesis (certificate in conservation), Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies, 2008), Unpublished, pp. 1-41 passim
Mary McWilliams, ed., In Harmony: The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art, exh. cat., Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2013), p. 184, cat. 21, ill.
- Exhibition History
Closely Focused, Intensely Felt: Selections from the Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 08/07/2004 - 01/02/2005
Re-View: Arts of India & the Islamic Lands, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 04/26/2008 - 06/01/2013
- Subjects and Contexts
Google Art Project
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