Circa: 18th century or earlier
Size: 11 ½ ″ – / 29 cm /, 1″ – / 2.5 cm / deep
CAUCASUS DAGESTAN – DERBENT glazed ceramic plate. Dagestan (which means Land of Mountains) has preserved and enhanced the local traditions of clay pottery making that go back to the Neolithic times. According to archaeological excavations, the earliest shards of articles from clay date back to 6-5 millennia BC. Though, they were of ascetic forms and not elegant in the beginning but over time, the manufacture of clay pottery had been improving. The appearance of a potter’s wheel (by the 3 millennium BC), the improvement of burning mechanism had the most favorable effect on ceramics. Thus, by the 1 millennium BC, production of large vessels for storage of oil, wine and grain was found. In the early middle ages, the main centers of pottery had already formed in Dagestan: Balkhar, Julie, Cakhul, Andheri, Sulevkent, Ispic, a Lezgin village, and so on. But arrival of the Arabs in the 7th century and active involvement of the population in international trade, as the Great Silk Road went through Dagestan, especially contributed to the development of clay processing. Wide range of interested buyers and their demands made craftsmen to produce various kinds of jugs, pitches, dishes, interior items as well as whistles, bells, figures of people and animals. Travelers who visited this Land of Mountains noticed the custom of people to decorate the walls of the guest room (kunatskaya) with decorative ceramics. This custom is still alive.
Dagestan ceramics has its own diverse and distinctive forms, numerous methods of decoration created over thousands of years. In the painting of articles are used vegetable motifs, as well as magical signs of fertility, astral and agricultural symbols. The process of pottery making is not easy. However, traditionally women are engaged in the creation of products with clay and men deliver finished products throughout Dagestan and abroad. Girls are taught the craft since childhood.
All Dagestan pottery can be divided on glazed and non-glazed. Archeologists consider all spots of glazed ceramic production which existed in Dagestan had a common genetic root – Derbent. The appearance of glazed ceramics in Derbent, in the biggest economical center of medieval Dagestan, scientists relate to the mid of the 8th century. This is evidenced by numerous glazed shards of dishes found during archaeological excavations in and around the city. As well Derbent was rich in raw materials necessary for the production of glazed ceramics. Perhaps there were ceramic centers and in the zone of influence of Derbent.
This particular glazed ceramic plate which survived from older days came to us from eastern Caucasus city of Derbent. It has a nice shade of yellow color with a deep green motif in center like an @.
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