Dish with decor under glaze
Middle Islamic Period
Object Name: Decorated glazed dish
Period: Middle Islamic Period
Date: 1100-1400 CE
Provenance: Iran
Dimensions: 9.5 cm height; 28.6 cm rim diam.
Medium: glazed earthenware
Registration Number: ARC.0000.00.07
Place Of Discovery/Findspot:  Al Jassasiya
This dish features stylised vegetal motifs along its rim. Painted black and set between two black bands, the motifs sit against a turquoise background and under a pale blue transparent glaze. The dish’s base and inner and outer walls are badly damaged, but the interior appears to have a zigzag pattern around a central vegetal motif echoing that on the rim.

The dish’s fragments have repair holes near their edges, where animal derived rope, plant fibre or metal ties have been used to bind the broken pieces together. The colour combination of black and turquoise under a transparent glaze suggests this piece to be an Iranian production, possibly of the Kashan type during the 12th-14th centuries.
Middle Islamic Period 1000–1600 CE

Only a few rare pieces of pottery testify to a human presence in Qatar throughout the 11th to 16th centuries. An Ottoman historical source from the mid-16th century refers to a major pearl fishing town in Qatar. This may have been the site of Al Huwaila, which was considered in later centuries to have been the former capital of Qatar. Surface pottery from an unexcavated portion of the remaining site supports this dating. There are also traces of Middle Islamic occupation at Al Ruwaida.

The Ottomans considered Qatar to be part of their province of Al Hasa, but only ruled it through a local tribe occupying both areas. By the mid-16th century the Portuguese had a fortress somewhere in Qatar, according to their maps and written records, and part of the fortifications of Al Ruwaida resemble Portuguese military architecture. Meanwhile, the Bedouin inhabitants of Qatar would have continued to occupy the desert with their herds, as they had done for centuries, leaving little behind them in the form of material remains.
With the decline of the vast and powerful Abbasid caliphate towards the end of the 10th century, several smaller states emerged in the Islamic world. Most of these continued to show nominal loyalty to the surviving Abbasid dynasty in Baghdad, but in Egypt the rival Fatimid caliphate arose and became a powerful military force with vast economic resources. For a while the focus of maritime trade shifted from the Gulf to the Red Sea. Further dynasties rose and fell in Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Iran.

In the 15th century a new power arose in the form of the Ottoman Empire, which had taken control of most of north Africa and the Middle East by the mid-16th century, as well as much of coastal Arabia. In the 16th century, however, they found serious rivals in the Gulf and Indian Ocean from the Portuguese and other European powers, who had established direct sea routes from Europe around Africa.
Al Jassasiya