Sokendai Review of Cultural and Social Studies


The Chemical characterization of Lusterware bodies
of the Early and Middle Period in the Middle East

SHINMEN, Toshiyasu

(The Graduate University for Advanced Studies,
Department of Japanese History, School of Cultural and Social Studies)

OKANO, Tomohiko

(The Museum of the Middle Eastern Culture Center in Japan)


(Tokyo Gakugei University, Research Laboratory for Scientific Studies on Cultural Properties)

Key words:

Lusterware, analysis of ceramic body, Iraq, Egypt, Iran, clay body, stonepaste body, Inductively Coupled Plasma-Atomic Emission Spectrometry (ICP-AES), cluster analysis, chemical composition

Islamic lusterware was the most characteristic ware produced in the Islamic world. Ceramic bodies analysis was applied to Lusterware of the early and middle periods to reveal the problems of provenance attribution of ceramics. Forty shards of lusterware which could have been produced in Iraq, Egypt, or Iran from the 10th to 13th century were analysed by inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-AES). The samples were analysed for 10 elements (Ti, Al, Fe, Mg, Mn, Ca, Na, K, Sr and Ba). The analytical data were subjected to cluster analysis to classify the shards into compositional groups. The results obtained indicated that the shards can be classified into four separate groups according to provenance attribution. The cluster analysis classifications were supported by considerations of the chemical compositions of the lusterware’s body.