Jar with turquoise-blue glaze
Early Abbasid Period
Object Name: Jar
Period: Early Abbasid Period
Date: late 8th to late 9th century
Provenance: Basra, Iraq
Dimensions: 33 x 16.9 x 16.4 x 9.5cm, weight:1.694kg
Medium: glazed earthenware
Registration Number: QNM.2011.406.1
Place Of Discovery/Findspot:  Murwab
This small ceramic jar is decorated in a turquoise-blue glaze. As the glaze covers the outside as well as the inside, liquids such as water, vinegar, oil and so on could be transported and conserved in the vessel. The jar has a short neck with a wide flat rim, allowing for a lid or flexible cover of fabric or leather to be fastened to it. Two small handles, one of which has broken off, indicate the jar could have been carried or suspended.

This type of turquoise-glazed pottery is very common on archaeological sites dating to the early Islamic period. These wares were produced in the workshops of Basra in southern Iraq and then exported all around the Abbasid empire and beyond. Examples have been found around the Indian Ocean region, including East Africa, Sri Lanka, and Cambodia.
Early Islamic Period 622 – 1000 CE

In 628 CE, the inhabitants of the administrative district of Al Hajar, which included the geographical area of present-day Bahrain, al-Hasa in eastern Saudi Arabia and Qatar, joined the new religion of Islam. The territory of Qatar was occupied mainly by two tribal groups, the Tamim and the Abd al-Qays.

During the early Abbasid period Qatar was famous, even at the court of Baghdad, for its red-dyed woollen coats, horse breeding and pearls. The entire population of the region benefited greatly from the maritime traffic passing through the Gulf, from Basra to China via India and Southeast Asia, as demonstrated by the large number of archaeological sites particularly in the northern region of Qatar.
Trade during the early Abbasid caliphate (750-1000 CE)

The Abbasid caliphate was a major dynasty ruling across the Islamic world. It succeeded the Umayyad dynasty in 750 CE bringing the capital eastwards from Damascus to Baghdad. Under the Abbasids came what has long been considered a golden age of Islam where knowledge was greatly advanced and widely disseminated. The dynasty stretched from as far as North Africa to the borders of China, making the capital in Baghdad well-placed to become a crossroads of trade and a cultural melting pot.

With the expansion of the Abbasid dynasty came further interaction between neighbouring lands, resulting in vital achievements including advancements in medicine and technological discoveries. The Abbasids sought innovative methods to generate revenue. This included developing new trade routes and capitalizing on existing ones such as the Silk Road, which facilitated the dynasty’s trading activities with India, Persia, East Asia, and Samarkand. Abbasid merchants saw an array of goods pass through land and sea routes, including ceramics, paper, silk and spices, to name a few.
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