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Abu Zayd

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The Grove Encyclopedia of Islamic Art and Architecture What is This? Provides in-depth historical and cultural information on over a thousand years of Islamic art and architecture

Abu Zayd

(fl. Kashan, 1186–1219).

Persian potter. At least two dozen tiles and vessels signed by Abu Zayd have been identified, more signed works than are known for any other medieval Iranian potter. He frequently added the phrase “in his own hand” (bi-khaṭṭihi) after his name, so that it has been misread as Abu Zayd-i Bazi or Abu Rufaza. His earliest piece is an enamel (Pers. mīnā῾ī) bowl dated 4 Muharram 583 (26 March 1186; New York, Met.), but he is best known for his lusterwares. A fragment of a vase dated 1191 (ex-Bahrami priv. col., see Watson, pl. 53) is in the Miniature style, but most of his later pieces, such as a bowl dated 1202 (Tehran, priv. col., see Bahrami, pl. 16a) and a dish dated 1219 (The Hague, Gemeentemus.), are in the Kashan style, which he is credited with developing (see Ceramics, §III, C). He collaborated with Muhammad ibn Abi Tahir (see Abu tahir, §I) on the two most important lusterware projects of the period, the decoration of the tomb chambers in the shrines of Fatima at Qum and Imam Riza at Mashhad. Abu Zayd's signature on pieces in the two most important techniques of overglaze luxury ceramics is one of the main reasons that enamel ware, like lusterware, can be attributed to Kashan.

Bibliography

  • M. Bahrami: “A Master Potter of Kashan,” Trans. Orient. Cer. Soc. (1944– ), pp. 35–40
  • O. Watson: Persian Lustre Ware (London and Boston, 1985)
  • O. Watson: “Documentary Mīnā῾ī and Abū Zaid's Bowls,” The Art of the Saljūqs in Iran and Anatolia: Proceedings of a Symposium Held in Edinburgh in 1982, ed. R. Hillenbrand (Costa Mesa, 1994), pp. 170–80
  • S. S. Blair: “A Brief Biography of Abu Zayd,” Muqarnas, xxiv (2007)
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