In their desire to imitate contemporary Chinese Song ceramics, the Seljuks were responsible for the most important innovation in early medieval Islamic pottery. They rediscovered a frit body of clay, quartz, and potash, an ancient Egyptian invention that permitted a variety of color and decoration.

Mina’i (enameled) was the most elaborate Seljuk pottery style, requiring several firings for pigments and gold leaf. Its figural style, derived from wall and miniature painting, preserved in a durable medium an almost vanished aspect of Seljuk art. This luxury ware was produced in Kashan for an emerging wealthy middle class.
Artist Islamic, Iranian
  • Bowl Inscribed "Wealth"
Date early 13th century
Medium Composite body, opaque white glaze, polychrome underglaze and overglaze painted decoration
Dimensions Overall: 3 7/8 × 8 1/4 inches (9.8 × 21 cm)
Credit Line City of Detroit Purchase
Accession Number 30.421
Department Islamic Art
On View Islamic N120, Level 1 (see map)
Inscriptions Inscribed, Kufic script, against floral scrolls.
1930-present, purchase by the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)
Shreve Simpson, M. "Narrative Allusion and Metaphor in the Decoration of Medieval Islamic Objects: Pictorial Narrative in Antiquity and the Middle Ages," Studies in the History of Art. Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art, vol 16, p .133 (ill.), p. 143.

Ettinghausen, R., and G. D. Guest. "The Iconography of a Kashan Luster Plate," Ars Orientalis vol. 4. 1961, pl. 14, (fig. 47) (ill.), pp. 45 and 47.

Aga-Oglu, Mehmet. "A Rhages Bowl with a Representation of an Historical Legend," Bulletin of the DIA 12, no.3 (December 1930): p. 31 (ill.), p. 32.

Peck, Elsie H. "Like the Light of the Sun: Islamic luster-Painted Ceramics," Bulletin of the DIA 71, no. 1/2 (1997): p. 22 (fig. 6) (ill.).

Survey of Persian Art, vol. II, p. 1629; vol. V, pl. 69 (ill.).

Henshaw, Julia P., ed. A Visitors Guide: The Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1995, p. 121 (ill.).