001: Early Islamic Ceramics: Ninth To Late Twelfth Centuries
Publish Date: 1980-06-01
Author: Helen Philon;T. Townsend Walford;Vanessa Stamford;Mouseio Benake
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This catalogue of early Islamic pottery in the Benaki Museum presents a comprehensive description of a remarkable collection viewed in the context of its historical background. Helen Philon has brought great insight and scholarship to her exhaustive treatment of this hitherto unpublished material, which merits the attention of the wider interested public as well as the specialist. Formed almost entirely in Egypt at the turn of the century by the discerning and enlightened Antony Benaki, the collection contains objects of great beauty and historical significance as well as a number of fragmentary pieces which reveal important information under the penetrating examination which Mrs Philon brings to her study. Particularly in the area of' Fatimid lustre painted ceramics does the author shed new light on the problems of dating and development of style, and her treatment Of the polychrome and monochrome lustre painted wares and the significance of the signatures that many of the pieces bear are valuable contributions to our knowledge in these fields. In his Foreword to this volume, the first of the Catalogue of Islamic Art in the Benaki Museum, Ernst J. Grupe has described it as 'a momentous and propitious undertaking conceived both as an instrument of study and research, and as a general guide. to the questions raised by the study of early Islamic pottery'. Each of the six hundred and forty-five objects is illustrated and fully described, and there are two additional contributions to the catalog by experts on, the calligraphy and on the technical analysis carried out on a selected group of shards.