V&A Style in Islamic Art Quiz

The human figure

The human figures in Fatimid art are often drawn with great decorative skill. On this fine lustre-painted bowl, details have been scratched through the lustre to prevent the design becoming too heavy. The man has standard features, with joined-up eyebrows and eyes drawn with a line extending to the temples, but he holds a lamp and is clearly a priest of the Coptic church. The cypress tree seems to suggest a monastery garden, a common theme in Arabic poetry.

Lustre bowl
Egypt, probably Cairo
Museum No. C.49-1952
Purchased with the assistance of the National Art Collections Fund