The production of opaque white glazed wares in Iraq in the late 8th or 9th century signifies the beginning of a widespread tradition that spread across the Islamic world and eventually also into Europe where opaque white glazed wares dominated fine-quality ceramic production for many centuries. The present bowl is a particularly elegant and precisely drawn example of this early Abbasid ceramic production.
Two bowls are published which share a very similar four-palmette design but where this motif borders a central stylised kufic inscription with a blessing to the owner and a maker's signature. In both cases the inscription reads baraka li sahibihi 'amal Muhammad al-Sala (blessings to the owner, the work of Muhammad al-Sala). One of these bowls is in the Keir Collection (Ernst J. Grube, Islamic Pottery of the Eighth to the Fifteenth Century in the Keir Collection, London, 1976, p. 39, no. 7). The other is in the Staatliches Museum für Völkerkunde in Munich (inv. nr. 28-8-2, published, Islamische Keramik, Frankfurt-am-Main, 1973, p. 35, no. 24). In the latter example the name was read Muhammad al-Sigar. It is possible that the present bowl is the work of the same potter, who became accomplished in and was known for drawing this fan-like palmette motif. A very similar bowl with precisely the same decoration and attributed to Muhammad al-Salah was sold at Sotheby's, 8 October 2008, lot 64.