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A Cypriot Brown and Green Sgraffito Ware Bowl, Late 13th century AD

A shallow bowl with decoration. Beige glaze with incised brown detailing. Interior: figure in center dressed in a decorated robe. Eyes, nose, and mouth depicted with lines in cheeks. Linnear and flora pattern around rim. Exterior is plain. Green paint in large spots on exterior, smaller dashed in interior. Splashed with green glazes under transparent glaze (sgraffito ware). 

Related examples in the Güzelyurt Archeological and Natural History Museum, housed in the old palace of the bishop of Güzelyurt (Morphou), Cyprus.

Sgraffito through whitish slip. Splashes of green on the engraved pattern. Colourless glaze on interior and exterior. On the interior a standing male figure frontal depicted, without clearly delineated hands. He is wearing a coif and a knee-length robe decorated with cross-hatching and diagonal lines. Straight and curved lines on either side of the figure. Narrow band with a zigzag line around the interior wall.

Bowl, red earthenware, of shallow form with short straight inward tapering sides, covered with a thin white slip opacified with tin oxide. The interior is incised with two conjoined standing figures using a stylus, other details have been carved away with a broader gouging tool. The male figure wears a close-fitting turban, and a calf-length tunic, while the female figure has her hair in a long braid wrapped with narrow strips of cloth, her garment covers her feet. The figures are joined at the chest, and each hold long palm branches. Details are added in copper-green, brown-iron and purple-manganese oxides, under a clear honey-coloured lead-glaze, which have flowed during the firing process.

DimensionsDiameter: 7 3/4 in, Height: 2 1/2 inches

ConditionCracked on exterior and interior. Glaze is worn off parts of the interior. Losses professionally repaired with tan ceramic.

Provenance:   The William R. Crawford collection of Ancient Glass and Antiquities, acquired in Cyprus prior to 1972 .  This piece is accompanied by an export license from Cyprus.       William R. Crawford, a retired American career diplomat and expert on the Middle East and Cyprus, was Director of Arab-Israeli Affairs at the State Department between 1959-1964, and Deputy Chief of Mission in Cyprus thereafter.   In the 1970's, he was ambassador to Yemen and then to Cyprus and later became principal deputy assistant secretary of state for Near East and South Asian affairs.   He donated part of his collection to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts prior to his death in 2002.

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