Tin-glazed earthenware bowl

Tin-glazed earthenware bowl

Tin-glazed earthenware bowl decorated in lustre and cobalt blue with a ship
1425–50
Málaga, Spain
Museum no. 486-1864

From the 12th century, potters at the Islamic city of Málaga perfected the production of often large-scale ceramics covered with a white tin-glaze and decorated with golden lustre. In the 13th and 14th centuries, Málaga lustrewares were exported widely, from England to Egypt, and commissioned by royalty, nobility and the very wealthy. The ship depicted on this magnificent bowl is a caravel, in which Iberian merchants and explorers sailed the high seas in the 15th century. The sail bears the arms of Portugal and it may have been commissioned by a Portuguese maritime merchant, perhaps to celebrate his commercial success.