Piece of June 2012. The Fish Safa

zafa June’s piece of the month at the Museum of the Alhambra is the fish safa (straight-sided bowl). Every Saturday in June, from noon onwards, art historian Elena Gómez will analyse the piece in Room VII of the museum, as part of a free programme offered by Patronato de la Alhambra y Generalife.

The fish safa is a direct graphic introduction to the domestic ceramics used as tableware in the Nasrid period. The interior of the wheel-thrown safa has curved glazed walls, topped off with a concave-convex rim.

The visual poetry of the safa comes from the decoration on its interior with figurative elements in black painted over a green glaze. To date, the motifs have been interpreted as representing fish.

The figures are arranged in two concentric circles, with five fish in each circle, all facing the same way. Each fish is represented by two roughly parallel brush strokes, diverging at one end. The curved path followed by the shoal gives the piece a certain decorative rhythm.

The apparently spontaneous, sketch-like design is of high technical quality. The great stylisation of the figures gives the piece a timeless feel. The image is an example of figurative representation in Hispano-Islamic culture.

When: Saturdays (May), noon
Where: Room VII, Museum of the Alhambra, Palace of Carlos V


Source: Patronato de la Alhambra 

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