Forged Abbasid Bowl with Man Playing Lute.
Smithsonian F1925.6

Lute (from the Arab word "al-'ud") players are among the most common themes of early Abbasid art, as in this Iraqi lusterware bowl of the tenth century.
Source: Arab Music - Part One by Ali Racy, Ph.D.

Forged Abbasid Bowl with Man Playing Lute. Smithsonian F1925.6. From Atil, Esin Ceramics from the world of Islam (1973), no. 3.

Museum of Islamic Art, Cairo

Fig. 11 - Detail of a dish, earthenware with lustre decoration over a white glaze, Iraq. 10th century. Museum of Islamic Art, Cairo, showing restoration with foreign sherds and overpainting, transforming a bird into a sceptre.
Source: Fakes and forgeries in Islamic pottery by Oliver Watson (2004) (The images for Figs. 11 & 13 are transposed)

Bowl (forgery)
Iraq; early 20th century;
Earthenware painted over glaze with lustre;
H x W: 9.9 x 35.9 cm (3 7/8 x 14 1/8 in)
Smithsonian F1925.6

The famous Freer Gallery lute-player dish first caught my attention when I noticed signs of a thick pigment on a flash-photograph I had taken. My suspicions were exacerbated by discovering a piece with identical decoration in the Cairo Museum - not only with the lute-player, but also with the curious and unexplained "symbol" on the left.30
Close examination reveals that the Cairo piece is heavily restored just at the place of the symbol, where a mishmash of foreign sherds and over-painting exist (fig. 11)
The mysterious symbol is explained by comparison with other dishes - notably a piece in the Metropolitan Museum of Art - it is the tail of a bird.31 On the Cairo bowl the restorer has improvised, not understanding the original; the painter of the Freer bowl has simply copied the Cairo mis-design.32

30 - Compare Atil Ceramics, no. 3 with Pope, Survey, pl 579a.

Source: p. 524, Fakes and forgeries in Islamic pottery by Oliver Watson (2004)
[The original does not have the curls of hair on the cheeks.]

See also: Abbasid Bowl with Man holding a Cup, 10th Century, Iraq. Metropolitan Museum of Art 1977.126.
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