Julfar-ware jar, found during excavations at Al Zubara by the University of Copenhagen
18th century
Object Name: Jar
Period: 18th century
Date: 1700-1799
Provenance: Produced in Ras Al-Khaimah, UAE/ Arabia
Dimensions: 21cm x 10cm x 23cm; weight: 2153.54g
Medium: ceramic
Registration Number: ARC.2010.3.240
Place Of Discovery/Findspot:  Al Zubarah
This pouring vessel is handmade with a rounded profile. It probably had a rounded base, though it is not preserved. The whole body is covered with a cream-coloured slip and maroon painted decoration. The single handle indicates that it was intended to pour liquid, presumably water but perhaps other drinks.

Although it was found at Al Zubara in northwest Qatar, the characteristic gritty clay, as well as the manufacturing technique, shape and decoration, identify it as Julfar Ware. This kind of pottery was made in Ras Al-Khaimah (United Arab Emirates) and exported all over the Gulf, especially in the 18th to mid-20th centuries. Many of the Julfar Ware exports were cooking pots but pouring jars such as this were also relatively common.
The Qatar Peninsula is surrounded by sea except in the south where it connects with its neighbours from the Arabian Peninsula. For hundreds of years people have shared the land, resources and knowledge inherited from their environment. With no fixed lifestyle in terms of time and place, people moved easily and freely between land and sea for trade, livestock, pearl diving, fishing, and hunting at various times throughout the year. This symbiotic relationship between the people and their environment was represented in the unity of their societies, including the exchange of knowledge, stories and the trading of available goods.

A distinctive characteristic of life on the Qatar Peninsula has long been the close association between the coast and the desert – al barr. Some desert tribes spent several months of the year in coastal cities, setting up semi-permanent residences to participate in pearl diving or fishing. Similarly, coastal residents occasionally moved to al barr during the winter to graze their livestock. This exchange of natural resources and the influence of different environments has contributed to the creation of a unique community.
The presence of British, French and Dutch trading companies in the Gulf from the early 1600s brought uncertainty to the region, with unstable alliances and intense competition over trade routes. As trade flourished, however, the strength of the Arab tribes increased. Many Arab tribes moved from the interior of the Arabian Peninsula to Qatar, and by the 18th and 19th centuries, most of the major towns of the Gulf were founded. Several towns flourished on the Qatari coast, including Huwailah, Khor Hassan, Fuwairat, Ruwaida, Freiha, Al Bidda and Doha. The most notable was Al Zubara which became a hub for the Gulf pearl trade.
CARTER, R. A., 2011. Ceramics of the Qatar National Museum: a report and catalogue, Oxford Brookes University.

WALMSLEY, A., THUESEN, I., 2009-2010, Qatar Islamic Archaeology and Heritage (QIAH) Project End of Season Report.
Al Zubarah