Lajvardina wares are named after the Persian word lajvard meaning "blue". It is applied principally to a ground of vessels and tiles covered with a very intense cobalt-blue as is seen here, and then decorated in overglaze enamels. As a term is has also been applied to the turquoise glazed enamel decorated vessels and tiles from the same group. Tiles in this technique are found in buildings dating from the later thirteenth century, notably from Takht-i Sulayman (see lot 274 for example). It continued in use into the Timurid period in central Asia, although with different designs.
The present bowl is most unusual in its condition. As Arthur Lane notes in such a complimentary way: "The coarse and greyish body-material is ... of inferior quality" (Early Islamic Pottery, London, 1947, p.43). This means that even fewer lajvardina vessels have survived to the present day intact than is the case with the earlier Kashan frit wares. To find an intact example is very rare indeed. In this case, not only has it survived unbroken, but the surface also has only very small areas of iridescence, enabling the contrast between the rich blue ground and the applied gold leaf and enamel decoration to be nearly as strong as in the fourteenth century.