Raqqa: Potters

Date: c. 771-825

The workshops located in the area known as Tal Aswad (“black hill”) appear to have been established around the time of the foundation of al-Rafiqa in 771. The workshops stopped operating in c. 825. Tal Aswad is located immediately north of the walls of al-Raqqa (ancient Kallinikos). The bulk of the production from the kilns was unglazed pottery, though smaller amounts of glazed wares were made on the site. Unglazed pottery included a range of utilitarian wheelthrown vessels for cooking and storage, as well as drainage pipes and chamber pots. Some of these carried simple decoration, but more ornate items were manufactured through mould casting, including jugs and lamps. Ceramic moulds for these items were also located. See also: Glazed-pottery manufacturers; Clay oven maker; Glass worker; Clay merchant.

Citation: Miglis, Peter, ed., Die frühislamische Keramik von Tall Aswad, Ar-Raqqa I (Mainz am Rhein: Philipp von Zabern, 1999). See particularly: Peter Miglus and Franciszek Stępniowski, “V: Formen, Verzierung und Verteilung der Keramik”, pp. 19-54; Julia Gonnella, “VI: Reliefkeramik”, pp. 55-75; Małgorzata Daszkiewicz and Jerzy Raabe, “IX: Untersuchungen zur herstellungstechnik und Herkunft der Keramik”, pp. 89-125.


Date: Eleventh to thirteenth centuries

Wasters and associated shards have been subjected to petrographic analysis. Two different ‘petrofabrics’ were identified by Robert Mason. The ‘Raqqa-2’ petrofabric includes lustre-painted and ‘Laqabi’ ware. See also: Glass Maker.

Citation: Mason, Robert, Shine like the Sun: Lustre and associated Pottery from the Medieval Middle East, Bibliotheca Iranica: Islamic Art and Architecture Series 12 (Costa Mesa CA and Toronto: Mazda Publishers and Royal Ontario Museum, 2004), pp. 106-108.