Transplanted Technology: Tracing Cross-Cultural Exchange Through the Evolution of Lusterware

Poet and writer Sonia Sanchez remarked that “Art…reflects the culture it springs from,” and it is with that lens that one can use art to learn more about the culture and society from which it emerged. In this case, one can use the renowned Valencian lusterware tradition as a means of discovering more about the history of Spain. Specifically, an in-depth study of this ceramic style, along with its historical context, reveals the great degree to which Muslim and Christian communities interacted in the Iberian Peninsula following the arrival of Islam and the Umayyad Caliphate in 710. This project analyzes the various stages of the development of lusterware, leading the viewer from the original Persian ceramic tradition all the way through to the emergence of the Valencian tradition itself. By pairing 3D models of select pieces from the Bowdoin College Museum of Art’s permanent collection and the Wyvern Collection on loan to the BCMA with in-depth analysis, viewers will be able to learn about the beautiful history of Valencian lusterware and uncover more about how these seemingly distinct societies became intertwined over time.

Mei Bock ’24, Ingrid Miller ’24, Owen Wolfson ’22

Persian Lusterware Bowl Wyvern 2221