Iraq and China: Ceramics, Trade, and Innovation

December 4, 2004 – July 17, 2005

Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
1050 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC

Pavilion; Sublevel 1 Floor Plan

Approximately 60 objects in this exhibition focus on revolutionary and enduring changes that took place in Iraqi ceramics during the 9th century as Islamic pottery responded to a wave of luxury Chinese goods imported by Arab and Persian maritime merchants. During this time, Iraq became a center for Islamic ceramic production as new technologies transformed common earthenware into a vehicle for complex multicolored designs. Objects on view include "signed" bowls painted in cobalt blue and a green, glazed sweet-meat dish with compartments. A 50-foot-long boat (on view in the Pavilion) excavated from a harbor in China by contemporary artist Cai Guo-Qiang complements the exhibition.

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