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Islamic Pottery - The Lusterware Technique

Islamic Pottery - The Lusterware Technique


The process of the Islamic lusterware

The process begins with the raw clay pottery slowly getting dry under the sun, the piece is introduced into the first firing. The resulting piece is then applied with a base of white glaze of tin and lead with for example adornments with blue cobalt glaze. After this glazing, the piece is fired under 1000°C.

Islamic Pottery Alhambra Vase before paintingIslamic Pottery Alhambra Vase  

After the cooling, the pottery piece golden adornments is painted with a copper and silver sulfide dissolved with vinegar.

This third firing is the most critical, and the best results are obtained by the use of traditional fire oven. The temperature curve has to be control from 650°C to 500°C. This is the difference between Islamic lusterware pottery and the modern lustre achieved by a more simple process.

The lusterware glaze composition

The white base glaze is usually achieved with a composition of 10% tin and 15-45%, with a tipical firing temperature between 950°C and 1110°C similar to a maiolica glaze. The lusterware glaze has to be well mixed and applied with 50% gum arabic or turpentine.

What can go wrong?

The most difficult is to control the color of the glaze and the stability. The metallic glaze can change color from copper brown to golden, can have defective bursts and also lose the iridescence characteristic of the lusterware pottery.

               Islamic Pottery Lusterware

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