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A Cypriot Tin-Glazed Ceramic Plate, ca. 10th-12th Centuries AD

The decorative characteristics of this lovely tin-glazed  sgraffiato plate can be immediately attributed to the unique style of the production centers in Cyprus during the Islamic period of the 10th - 12th century.  The form is typical: a slightly concave plate with small raised center that stands on a rounded, disc-shaped foot.  The white monochrome slip covering the beige colored surface provides a good contrast for  the design incised in thin lines through the white into the darker ceramic body.   These decorative elements are simple but elegant: the raised tondo displays a leaf medallion together with three ornate circular bands.  

Dimensions:  Diameter: 10 1/2 inches (27 cm)

Condition:  Beige slip has slightly worn in areas, slight hairline crack in the interior slip that does not detract, otherwise intact and in very good condition overall.

Provenance:   The William R. Crawford collection of Ancient Glass and Antiquities, acquired in Cyprus prior to 1972 .  This piece is accompanied by a copy of the export license  issued to Mr. Crawford by Republic of Cyprus, Department of Antiquities.     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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