Dish with crescent and star motif manufactured by Société Céramique, Maestricht
Early 20th century
Object Name: Dish
Period: Early 20th century
Date: 1900-1920
Provenance: Holland
Dimensions: 6.5cm x 31cm; weight: 1.321kg
Medium: ceramic
Registration Number: QNM.2014.122
Place Of Discovery/Findspot:  Qatar
This bowl is decorated with a ‘star in crescent’ pattern. The pattern features centrally in maroon paint against a white ground and is repeated around the rim in reverse colour scheme. The bowl is stamped on the base with ‘Made in Holland’ and ‘Centre Céramique, Maestricht’, one of two major ceramic manufacturers in Maastricht, the other being Petrus Regout. Centre Céramique was founded in 1851 and had gained considerable success by 1861.

Both factories produced vast quantities of good quality, but relatively cheap, ceramics for the export market, which flooded the Indian Ocean region and the Gulf in the late 19th and early 20th century. The pearling industry was at its peak during this time, as well as the international carrying trade. The lower cost of these ceramics made them available to a wider clientele in Doha and neighbouring towns for use on special occasions. This particular design is said to have been especially associated with Eid celebrations.
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.