Medieval Middle Eastern Ceramics
(NMC 464H)

This course is intended to provide an intense overview of the basic corpus of pottery found on archaeological sites in the Middle East that were occupied between about 700 and 1800 AD. It is intended to instruct students in the identification of technology, form and style of the main ceramic groups found across the region, to thereby enable their identification, dating, and attribution of original provenience. Trade in ceramics was well-developed in this period, so the major widely-traded groups will be particularly stressed, and imports from the West and East will also be covered. Coarser wares will also be covered, focussing on areas where students may be likely to undertake field work. On Middle and Near Eastern archaeological sites, Islamic occupation or that of the medieval period generally are often found on top of the site, so knowledge of this material is essential for any archaeologist working in the area. The technological emphasis would also be of interest to studio students.

Syllabus: a two-hour class each week will heavily involve use of the ROM collections.

Class 1: Scope of course, methods of study; Middle Eastern ceramics before Islam

Class 2: Basra: a ceramic light to the world; Samarra assemblage

Class 3: TEST: 20% on class 1 and 2; Siraf assemblage

Class 4: Fustat: ceramics under the Fatimids; Fustat assemblage

Class 5: Syria: Tell Minis, Raqqa and Damascus; Jerusalem assemblage, Acharneh assemblage

Class 6: TEST 20% on classes 3-5 Iran: early wares: Nishapur, Samarqand.

Class 7: Kashan

Class 8: Blue and white porcelain: Mamluk Syria and Egypt

Class 9: Timurid Iran

Class 10: TEST 20% on classes 6-8 Safavid Iran

Class 11: Yemen, Zabid assemblage

Class 12: ESSAY DUE - 20%. Anatolia: Seljuks and Ottomans (Iznik, Kutahya)

Class 13: FINAL TEST: 20% on all course

Suggested reading:
L. Golombek, R. B. Mason, and G. Bailey, 1996, Tamerlane's Tableware: a new approach to the Chinoiserie Ceramics of Fifteenth and Sixteenth Century Iran. Mazda Press, Costa Mesa, and Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto.
A. Lane, 1947, Early Islamic Pottery. London: Faber and Faber.
A. Lane, 1957, Later Islamic Pottery. London: Faber and Faber.
R. B. Mason, 2002, Shine Like the Sun: Lustre-painted and Associated Pottery from the Medieval Middle East, Mazda Press, Costa Mesa, California, and Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto.

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