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WHERE DID THE LUSTRE TILES OF THE SIDI OQBA MOSQUE (ad836–63) IN KAIROUAN COME FROM?

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Metallic lustre decoration of glazed ceramics is a very special kind of ornament, because its colours change with the observational conditions. In diffused light, they can be green, brown or ochre–yellow. In specular reflection, they show an associated coloured metallic shine (blue, golden-yellow or orange). The lustre tiles at the Sidi Oqba Mosque in Kairouan still have no defined origin (possibly Kairouan and/or Mesopotamia). Physicochemical analyses of eight Kairouan lustre tile samples and four Mesopotamian lustre pottery samples show that the Kairouan tiles probably came from Mesopotamia, from a major production centre, possibly Baghdad, Samarra or Basra.
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Keywords: ARCHAEOMATERIALS; GLAZED CERAMICS; LUSTRE DECORATION; MEDITERRANEAN AREA; PHYSICOCHEMICAL ANALYSES

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Centre de Recherche de Physique Appliquée à l’Archéologie—IRAMAT, Université de Bordeaux 3—CNRS, Esplanade des Antilles, 33607 Pessac cedex, France. 2: Institut National du Patrimoine, Mausolé Sidi Abid, Kairouan, Tunisia. 3: Institut National du Patrimoine, 4 place du château, 1008 Tunis, Tunisia. 4: Musée National de la Céramique, place de la manufacture, Sèvres, France. 5: Laboratoire d’Archéologie Médiévale Méditerranéenne, 5 rue du Château de l’horloge, BP 647, 13094 Aix-en-Provence, France

Publication date: November 1, 2003

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