Known as Hispano-Moresque lusterware, this ceramic type combines the techniques of tin-glazing and metallic luster decoration that were brought to southern Spain by the conquering Moors in 711. In the early 14th century, Mainses, a municipality of Valencia, became the most important production center of Moorish lusterware, and the industry flourished. In 1609, Moriscos, or Muslims who converted to Christianity, were expelled from Valencia. The few skilled Morisco potters who escaped expulsion, along with Spanish potters, continued lusterware production in Mainses, but the ware declined in quality and popularity. In the New World, the ware is generally found in Spanish Caribbean colonies.

 


Attributes

Fabric: The fabric is chalky, compact, and a mottled light to dark salmon pink. Visible are occasional hematite inclusions, some quite large and occasional quartz sand.

Glaze: Vessels are covered entirely with lead glazes containing tin oxides, which appear matt off-white to pale pink.

Decoration: Hand-painted in copper and silver oxides, motifs appear metallic pinkish-purple to pinkish-brown.  Decorations on one example from James Fort include a simple flower pinwheel in the center; pale traces of vertical lines remain on the bouge. Another bowl is decorated in the center with a bird, and the bouge decoration consists of alternating stylized geometric and floral designs. Painted on the exterior walls of all the vessels are a few thin horizontal lines. Stylized foliage motifs remain on the top of some of the handles.

Form: From features dating ca. 1607-1610, fragments of at least six small double-handled bowls or escudillas have been found at James Fort. They are wheel-thrown, and have thick bases that are slightly convex on the exterior.  Knife-trimmed above the base, the exterior walls gently flare outward and taper toward the vertical, v-sectioned rim. Two press-molded handles with foliated edges are applied horizontally on opposite sides of the exterior rim.