Ceramic Bowl with Drinking Figure
Gender and history
Gender and the body
This ceramic bowl with drinking figure is one of the most significant pieces of the MNCV collection. The Moorish piece from Al-Ándalus was produced in the region of Valencia in the 11th century. The decorative figure is of particular relevance, as human representations are infrequent in Muslim art.
The figure painted on this delicate vessel has frequently been described as a youth, or prince, automatically assuming a male identity, yet a closer analysis of the anatomy, stance and clothing is not sufficient to determine the gender of the figure.
Documented history of some women in Al-Ándalus palace society allows us to suggest alternatives to the traditional interpretation that has been made of this piece. These new readings do not claim to be more truthful than traditional interpretations, but rather aim to enhance visibility of the participation of women in the history of our cultures.