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Early Islamic ceramics and glazes of Akhsiket, Uzbekistan

Henshaw, C.M.; (2010) Early Islamic ceramics and glazes of Akhsiket, Uzbekistan. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

The thesis examines the technical aspects of ceramics and glazes from Akhsiket, a regional capital in the early Islamic period, which was abandoned in the early 13th century. Ceramics and glazes of the time period under discussion (9th - 13th century) in Uzbekistan are understudied, with minimal scientific analysis of the technological processes. These processes include the forming and firing of ceramic vessels, the origin of raw materials used in ceramics and glazes, and decoration methods such as slip painting and colored glazes. A variety of commonly-seen ceramic types have been studied, giving a well-rounded picture of the ceramic assemblage at Akhsiket. Comparison between ceramics from different sites in Uzbekistan, and the development of the technology over four centuries, is possible with the use of chemical and petrographical data obtained with a variety of scientific techniques - primarily the scanning electron microscope. Contemporary glazed ceramics from Kuva and Tashkent, both in Uzbekistan, were also examined for comparison, and to shed light on the transfer of technological and artistic techniques through Central Asia. Typological analysis of Islamic ceramics shows a progression of artistic and technological knowledge from the Middle East to Central Asia during the Arab expansion in the 8th – 9th centuries. Data from chemical and petrographical analysis has shown interesting similarities and differences between ceramic pastes and glazes used at Akhsiket, Kuva and Tashkent. These analyses are used as evidence for relationships in ceramic production and technology in Uzbekistan and by comparison with published data, to ceramics further afield. Along with providing a clearer picture of ceramic production in Uzbekistan, this work provides a new dimension to the discipline of Islamic ceramic studies, demonstrating the importance of archaeological ceramics of the eastern fringes to the understanding of the production of ceramics and the transmission of knowledge and cultural traditions within the Islamic caliphate.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:Early Islamic ceramics and glazes of Akhsiket, Uzbekistan
Open access status:An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language:English
UCL classification:UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences > Institute of Archaeology

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